When asked about the recent decision by the TERC (Tax Equalization & Review Commission) to require an increase of 20% in dry land ag valuations, Meister said, “It is absolutely outrageous. All we’ve heard in the last year is the talk coming out of Lincoln that we need tax reform. If this is their idea of reform they obviously don’t know what they are doing.” Meister went on to say, “I attended the tax hearings held by the legislature and I heard all of the Ag producers talk about the need to get the property tax burden taken care of. This is simple math, if you raise valuations; you raise taxes, plain and simple.”

      The TERC is currently made up of 3 people, all of whom were appointed by Governor Heineman. “It is hardly a surprise that you would see this kind of action from three commissioners who live east of Grand Island.” Meister continued, “They don’t understand the difference between annual rainfall of 13 inches and 38 inches and how that impacts agriculture in our part of the world.”

     “The current legislature made a conscious decision to kick the can down the road.  I pledge to the people of Scotts Bluff County and all of the counties of the Panhandle that once elected, I will bring this matter front and center and find the fix that is desperately needed to provide meaningful property tax relief.”

 

Economic Development

 “The continued viability of the panhandle in general and Scotts Bluff County in particular, is grounded in our ability to grow. To that end, we must fund infrastructure projects such as the Heartland Expressway; revisit the use of our public utilities to provide broadband internet access to the rural areas of our state; and find innovative ways to let us compete at the state level for businesses with communities the size of the twin cities.”

School Aid

Photo Credit: ms.akr

Photo Credit: ms.akr

“The school aid formula in this state is woefully broken.  Urban centers are receiving the bulk of aid while rural schools are pushed to the back of the line.  This results in a heavier reliance on property taxes to make up the shortfall.  This is unacceptable.  We must find new ways to provide state aid to schools so that the quality of our educational opportunities are enhanced statewide and not just in Lincoln and Omaha.”


 

Tourism

“Tourism is such an important part of our economic viability that it deserves its own attention outside the general economic development discussion.  Tourism is our third largest industry in Nebraska, yet we are the 45th state in the country in state spending on tourism. With just a little more attention we could do what South Dakota does and export our income tax to visitors.” 

 

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Paid for by Mike Meister for Legislature Committee

1906 Broadway, Scottsbluff, NE 69361