Property Tax Relief Initiative Dropped because of COVID-19 Limits

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – Activists leading an initiative campaign for a statewide ballot measure to lower property taxes in Nebraska have suspended their effort due to the coronavirus.

The group TRUE Nebraskans posted the announcement on its website Tuesday, saying the state’s social-distancing restrictions have made it too difficult to collect the roughly 128,000 signatures needed by the July 2 submission deadline to make it on this year’s general election ballot.

The group pulled its circulators off the streets on March 19 and says “with public gatherings and even personal contact limited, there is no reasonable expectation that we can finish the task without needless risk to the health and safety of our circulator network and to Nebraskans in general.”

The proposal would have given a state-funded rebate to Nebraska taxpayers equal to 35% of the taxable value of their property, but did not include a method of funding that rebate.

Some prominent conservatives, including Panhandle senator Steve Erdman, backed the proposal, but Gov. Pete Ricketts and other opponents argued that it would lead to major cuts to services or tax increases elsewhere.

Two other ballot campaigns to legalize casino gambling and medical marijuana have said they’re confident they had enough signatures in hand before pulling its circulators when the coronavirus rules went into effect to still qualify for the November ballot.

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