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Noon Newscast 5.20.19

State of Nebraska

Farmers, ranchers and homeowners throughout Nebraska are likely to get more state money next year to offset their property tax bills.

But, it won't make a big difference for many people and that's leaving some lawmakers exasperated as this year's legislative session nears its end.

The new state budget awaiting a final vote in the Legislature provides a major boost to the Nebraska property tax credit, which helps reduce the total tax bill sent to property owners.

For many property owners, the tax savings will be relatively small or even non-existent, because of rising property values.

An unknown amount of the tax credit would go to out-of-state landowners.

If the budget passes as expected, owners of a $150,000 home would get a $106 discount on their property tax bill — about $29 more than what they currently receive.

At the same time, the credit has been consuming an ever-larger chunk of the state budget, drawing criticism from progressive lawmakers who want more money for education, health care, child welfare services and other priorities.

The spending plan calls for a $51 million annual boost to the tax credit, for a total of $275 million a year — roughly 5 percent of the state's annual general-fund budget and nearly double the amount distributed to taxpayers in 2015.

Ricketts criticized that plan as a "tax swap" and urged lawmakers to reject it.

Over the weekend the last section of Interstate 29 closed because of flooding has reopened.

Damage forced the DOT to close I-29 from Missouri Valley to Crescent for about nine weeks.