Are property taxes on the ballot?

Up and down the campaign trail and all across Nebraska, candidates are quick to tell you that property tax is their number one priority. It’s true for incumbents and newcomers alike. Nearly every rural or statewide contender is ensuring voters that property tax is the primary focus.

These candidates show empathy when saying times are tough. They are quick to display confidence when telling us they “know how to fix it.” Some use flashy graphs, glossy charts, and selective statistics to show they are serious.

I’ll spare you the numbers here. Most of them you already know. You see them in your budget, on your bank statement, and in the mail from your county assessor.

Too often the proposed solution that sounds good in a sound bite comes with a catch. Usually that’s income tax breaks for the highest earners or cuts to our health care and education. Their political calculus shows we are desperate enough to agree with anything in exchange for the slightest reprieve.

In order to achieve real property tax relief we must restore the aid taken from schools, roads, and public safety. Proposals must identify how the state will fulfill its obligations. Any that create long-term budget gaps should be rejected.

If a candidate is telling you otherwise, it’s probably too good to be true.

Now, change is up to us. This election is an opportunity to vote in leaders who are earnest in their commitment, open to compromise, and willing to follow through.