Nebraska Farm Bureau Delegates Take Positions on Tax Reform, Water Funding, Farm Data; Elect New Leaders
KEARNEY, Neb. – Nebraska Farm Bureau’s voting delegates reinforced the need for property tax relief adopting a handful of resolutions targeted to lessening the property tax burden on Nebraska farm and ranch families as part of the organization’s 96th Annual Convention held Dec. 8-10 in Kearney.
“Tax reform and relief is still squarely on the minds of our members as we head into the 2014 legislative session, and that was reflected in the delegate’s discussions at our Annual Convention,” said Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson.
Delegates adopted resolutions calling for any new sales taxes collected on the final consumption of goods or services to be used to provide property tax relief. Resolutions to modify the state aid to schools formula to provide a per-student base level of funding for all schools also passed the delegate body. The resolution stemmed from concerns that numerous rural schools do not currently receive any state equalization aid. The lack of state support leaves local property taxes to carry the full burden of local school funding and farm and ranch families carry a large portion of that property tax load in rural districts.
Outside of tax discussions, delegates reiterated their support for the state’s Livestock Friendly County program and backed other policy resolutions that would help create opportunities to bring the next generation of farmers back to the farm using livestock as an entry point.
Funding for statewide water projects and programs was also a central topic of delegate discussion.
“Management of Nebraska’s water resources is a statewide issue, and we continue to support funding for programs and projects related to water resource development, integrated management, cost-share for conservation programs, research, infrastructure and other water management activities,” said Nelson.
Delegates reiterated their belief that funding for the water programs should come from a local/state mix and funding for programs should come from broad-based sources of funding.
The protection of propriety farm data was also discussed by delegates in the context of the evolution of on-farm technology and farm data collected through the use of that technology.
“Our members believe farmers should continue to have the right to maintain ownership of data collected on their farms or ranches with the ability to share that data as they so choose,” said Nelson.
Delegates also adopted policy encouraging the state of Nebraska to seek agreements with bordering states to help ensure that Nebraska’s farm truck regulations would be recognized by neighboring states to avoid problems for farmers carrying farm commodities across state lines.
Delegates noted their opposition to a little known provision in the federal Affordable Health Care Act that prevents small business owners from receiving a federal health insurance tax credit for family workers covered under the businesses health care coverage.
The house of delegates also conducted elections for positions on Nebraska Farm Bureau’s board of directors. Delegates elected Todd Reed of Lincoln to the position of youth at-large and David Grimes of Raymond to the at-large position. Leslie Boswell of Shickley was elected to represent district 4 which covers Butler, Clay, Fillmore, Hamilton, Jefferson, Nuckolls, Polk, Saline, Seward, Thayer and York counties.
Delegates also re-elected Tanya Storer of Whitman and Scott Moore of Bartley to the state board. Storer will continue to represent district 6 which covers Blaine, Boyd, Brown, Cherry, Custer, Garfield, Grant, Holt, Hooker, Keya Paha, Logan, Loup, McPherson, Rock, Thomas and Wheeler counties. Moore will continue to represent district 7 which covers Chase, Dawson, Dundy, Frontier, Furnas, Gosper, Harlan, Hayes, Hitchcock, Lincoln and Red Willow counties.