- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 20, 2018

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A Nebraska group has begun collecting signatures to try to get a $1.1 billion property tax relief measure on the November ballot.

The Yes to Property Tax Relief group has until July 5 to collect the nearly 85,000 signatures. The proposal would give Nebraska property owners a refundable income tax credit equal to 50 percent of the school property taxes they pay, which would be about 30 percent of the total property tax bill.

The petition doesn’t specify where the funds for the income tax credits would come from. Other legislative measures suggest closing some sales and income tax exemptions, as well as raising sales, cigarette and other taxes.

The committee has hired the Arizona-based Lincoln Strategy Group to oversee the signature-gathering efforts, said Trent Fellers, spokesman for the committee. The committee will use a combination of paid and volunteer circulators.

Nebraska’s property tax burden is the fifth highest in the nation, according to the committee.

“This is going to be a big boost to homeowners. Putting some more money back in their pocket through this income tax credit but also to agriculture producers who have been paying high property taxes for years. … This will take the boot off of their neck a little bit and allow them to be more competitive with other producers in surrounding states,” said Fellers.

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation has given $100,000 to the drive so far, and other agricultural groups have also contributed funds.

Gov. Pete Ricketts and business groups have criticized the measure for raising taxes to cut taxes, and warn it could cause cuts to government services.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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