Lawmakers advance property tax relief and incentive bill to final vote

Lawmakers advance property tax relief and incentive bill to final vote

By Andrew Ozaki, KETV —

Nebraska lawmakers voted 41-4 with four senators not voting, to send a bill that combines property tax relief, business incentives and money for UNMC’s NExT project to final reading.

The bill advanced before the Big Ten’s announcement to delay its fall sports season until October.Omaha Sen. Justin Wayne worries about the financial impact of losing Husker football and volleyball, should the conference end up canceling the season entirely.

“It’s a huge concern. We saw in Omaha, with not having the College World series, a dip in revenue. I think we’ll see a same thing across the state,” Wayne said.

Wayne already had concerns about how the state was going to pay for the tax package.

It will cost $135 million next year, increasing every year. By year 10, the cost would be $680 million according to the legislature’s Fiscal Office.

“I think this is a recipe for disaster,” Wayne said.

NU head football coach Scott Frost said Lincoln alone could take a $300-million hit without football.

“And the state of Nebraska will lose hundreds of millions of dollars if we don’t play football,” Frost said.

State Sen. Lou Ann Linehan is one of the key architects of the relief bill.

She said doing nothing is not a good option.

“The people who have to pay the property taxes need a break. It is a crisis and we have to address it,” Linehan said.

Supporters of the plan said they’re counting on modest growth.

And the chairman of the budget committee says there may be extra revenue, if the state is allowed some flexibility with federal coronavirus relief money.

“I think we’re really conservative in this,” State Sen. John Stinner said.

Linehan said she has faith Husker football will happen.

“I am a big cheerleader for Scott Frost and (University of Nebraska) President Carter right now,” Linehan said.

And so is Wayne.

“I hope Husker football is playing and I hope we got sales coming in, because if not, we are in a head-on collision,” Wayne said.

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