LIST OF ISSUES
Nebraskans needs real and substantial property tax relief. The national average for the use of property taxes to fund education is 29.2%, and Nebraska’s percentage of property taxes used to fund K-12 schools is 49.4%, making our state 1st in agricultural property tax and 7th in residential property tax in the nation. The University of Nebraska’s Market Watch study shows the average Nebraska farm ($22,934.00) paying over 60% more property taxes than the second highest state of California ($13,299.00). Tom will work tirelessly to achieve substantial long term property tax relief.
K-12 EDUCATION FUNDING
The Legislature has not fully funded the state aid to education formula known as the TEEOSA (Nebraska Tax Equity and Educational Opportunities Support Act) based on what the formula itself called for in funding without adjusting the formula downward, resulting in a corresponding shift from state income and sales taxes to local property taxes. Currently, 178 out of 244 of Nebraska’s school districts or 72% do not currently receive state aid equalization aid from the state for 95% of their school operating budgets, and are forced to rely on property taxes to fund their mostly rural and mostly smaller schools. Only 7% of the total TEEOSA support goes to Class B schools of below 2,000 students including Class C, and Class D schools, clearly indicating a funding inequity. Nebraska is 49th in the nation in the percentage (32.5%) of income and sales taxes used for total educational funding. Tom understands that our children are our greatest asset and he strongly believes in fairly and equally funding the education of all of our states children.
Data from the 2016 Nebraska Rural Poll “Broadband and Mobile Internet Services in Non-metropolitan Nebraska” with 1,746 respondents found rural Nebraskans very “dissatisfied” and “somewhat dissatisfied” percentages for (overall home internet services were 26%), (customer services were 25%) , (speed” were 34%), (reliability were 33%), and (price were 52%). Many school assignments and lessons require a reliable internet connection. Commercial business, and farm program business is increasingly being done on the internet. Younger Nebraskans are less likely or unwilling to move to farms, ranches, and rural areas that do not have high quality internet capacities and service. Nebraska’s public power utilities currently have dark cable already laid that is underutilized but available to provide service to rural users in underserved areas of our state. Tom supports legislation to allow Nebraska public power districts (PPD) to partner with private entities to build, upgrade, enhance, and support the infrastructure necessary to ensure meaningful high speed internet access is provided for a reasonable cost in rural areas throughout Nebraska