LB 839 (1993)
June 8, 1993
SPEAKER BAACK: LB 782 passes. We'll go to LB 839 with the emergency clause.
CLERK: Mr. President, I have motions on the desk, but may I read a couple of items before?
SPEAKER BAACK: Yes.
CLERK: Quickly, a reference report referring two resolutions. And bills read earlier today have been presented to the Governor for his perusal. (Re. LB 235, LB 302, LB 302A, LB 345, LB 345A, LB 348, LB 348A, LB 440, LB 440A, LB S87 and LB 587A. See page 2843 of the Legislative Journal.)
The first motion I have with respect to 839 is by Senator Wickersham. Senator Wickersham would move to return the bill for specific amendment for purposes of striking the enacting clause.
SPEAKER BAACK: Senator Wickersham.
SENATOR WICKERSHAM: Thank you, Mr. President. I brought this motion, not in any intention of depriving the body of an opportunity to vote the bill. I'll withdraw it later, after we've had an opportunity to discuss it. I filed the motion after a letter from the... from Mr. Lutjeharms, of the Department of Education, was circulated. I felt that after that letter was
distributed on the floor that we clearly would want to discuss some of the provisions in 839. 1, 1 guess... first off, I don't agree, of course, with the...with the conclusion that Mr. Lutjeharms stated in his letter. There was an earlier Attorney General's Opinion, and that was also circulated to you. And it's fairly clear, from the Attorney General's Opinion, with which I happen to agree, that we could not distribute in lieu of funds based on 143 percent of appraised valuation. The Supreme Court has said we can't. And even though we re-enacted the statute providing for use of the 143 percent of appraised value twice, after the Supreme Court ruled that unconstitutional in Bartels, we cannot use that. And I think that's all that the Attorney General's Opinion stands for. I'm not sure what Mr. Lutjeharms' letter stands for, but I expect we'll get an opportunity to discuss that at greater length, because there are other materials that have been handed out to you, and I think we'll just, I'll wait for that discussion to develop. I intend to vote against 839, primarily because it contains the provisions for the common levy, with which I'm sure you're all very well agree...or very well understand that I disagree with and feel strongly that that is not something we should do. I do agree that we need to do something with the in lieu of tax distributions, but feel that the provisions of 348, which we've already enacted, are adequate to solve the problem for this year. Now, the last time this issue was debated I indicated that the 80 percent of appraised value was an acceptable standard, and it is. And I've already had the first bill drafted for next year's session, and it deals with the 80 percent standard. And it would use the 80 percent standard, not only for the next year, but to make adjustments in the future year's distributions so that, in effect, this year turns out to be 80 percent of in lieu. So the bill I intend to introduce, next session, it's already drafted, would employ the 80 percent standard, 80 percent of appraised value for the next year, and it would make adjustments in the distribution so that, in effect, an 80 percent standard was employed this year. I'm going to have to be quite clear about this because of the comments in Mr. Lutjeharms letter about the constitutionality of either bill. I don't know what the permissible standard is. I don't know whether it's 110, 1 don't know whether it's 100, 1 don't know whether it's 80, 1 don't know whether it's 70 percent, I don't know whether it's 60 percent. And I doubt that anyone can say with any great degree of certainty, after reading the Bartels case, exactly where that standard is. I'm satisfied that we can get by with 100 percent this year and
employ an 80 percent standard the years after that and make adjustments for this year so that we would go back to 80 percent. I'm willing to live with that. I don't know that that's constitutionally mandated, but I'm willing to live with that. Now, I think that there are others who probably have things to say about this bill, and I don't want to take up a lot of time. I will withdraw, an I indicated I'll withdraw the motion in a little while, after I think we've all had -a chance to speak. Thank you.
SPEAKER BAACK: Thank you, Senator Wickersham. Senator Jones.
SENATOR JONES: Mr. President, members of this body, I rise in opposition of 839. 1 think LB 348 has everything in it that we need. And the common levy and school tax, I think that... I just don't like this common levy at all, and in lieu of tax, I think that will be handled in 348. But to start out with, I don't think that either one of these' bills should have been put together. Really the in lieu of tax is money paid out in there, and the common levy is money coming back this way. And the common levy bill was killed in committee, and -it should have never come out on the Final Reading like this. So I just can't see. And besides that, the land valuation is going up out there in my district, great now, and every time they go up that lowers the state aid there. So, pretty soon the state aid is going to be gone, especially In Hyannis and Keya Paha County, the state aid is all going to disappear just because of these actions. So I'd strongly oppose 839, and I hope you'll do the same, too. Thank you.
SPEAKER BAACK: Thank you, Senator Jones. Senator Withem.
SENATOR WITHEM: Yes, Mr. Speaker, members of the body. I find it interesting the turn events here. Turn of events is that two days ago Senator Wickersham was offering an amendment to LB 348, to put the contents of 839 into it. At least some of the speakers that spoke gave the impression that they understood that 80 percent was the correct language and were very concerned if only 348 passed in its current form, and it has passed, that the dollars would not be able to be distributed this year. Now we have the same Senator Wickersham standing on-the floor saying 348 was a fine bill, it took care of the problem. And he says nobody can say for certainty what the standard is. Well, I think people that can read probably can say what the standard is because they standard is enunciated in Bartels, it's
reenunciated in the Attorney General's Opinion, and it says no school district can receive more under a distribution scheme than they could if the land was on the tax rolls. And LB 839, by the way, does not say 80 percent. The language of 839 is before you, it basically says the same percentage of the appraised value is the percentage of the assessed value is the market value in Section 771360.01. In other words, the factor that we use will be the same standard that the property would be assessed if it were on the tax rolls. Now it's 80 percent. If we're on the tax rolls, that's the amount of value that would be brought in, that's the amount of money we can send back in in lieu of taxes. We can't send back more than that. LB 348, again we passed this out. LB 348 says, in essence, 100 percent. Senator Wickersham gave a good explanation of what that means when he spoke on June 3, where he said that I will reiterate 4' unless we put exactly the same language in 348 and we pass 348 as it is now, we have a conflict, because 348, as it stands now, says that what you use is the last appraised value such school land, period, which is 100 percent. No other farm property in that given school district is drawing taxes at the rate of 100 percent of its appraised value, it's all at 80 percent. I think it's very clear for Senator Wickersham to say you can't set a standard, I think he's inaccurate. The Lutjeharms letter I should comment on because there was a question, I think, at the end of... at the end of Select File debate on 348, and the motion to return on 839 that made people question what would happen. And I'll let Senator Bernard-Stevens talk about what unfolded to receive the letter. But I think it's appropriate that we ask the person with the statutory responsibilities to distribute what he plans to do in the eventuality of-passage of certain legislation. He's told us the money will not be distributed. Now, I guess I heard and I'm not sure what Senator Wickersham is saying, is that he proposes we leave 100 percent in and maybe it will get distributed, and maybe it won't. But then we can come back next year and change the statute for this year back to 80 percent and turn....I don't even understand exactly what it is he's talking about doing. I mean if we talk about problems with the system, that is certainly a bigger problem, I think, than anything that's happened here. As far as Senator Jones's remarks about the procedure, I'd point out that there was nothing done on LB 839 that was not done with 25 votes of the membership. There are 25 votes to return 839 to put both provisions of this amendment into it. There are 27 votes to advance the measure. There was... to adopt the amendment. There was a voice vote to readvance, and then the next day we debated
the issue all over again. Senator Wickersham wanted to take the in lieu of issue, put it over on 348. He thought it was important to do that a couple of days ago.
SPEAKER BAACK: One minute.
SENATOR WITHEM: Was that time?
SPEAKER BAACK: One minute.
SENATOR WITHEM: One minute. He thought it was important to do that a couple of days, apparently he doesn't today, but he only had 20 votes to do that. So everything that's been done has been done with a majority of the membership here. There's nothing wrong with the procedure whatsoever. LB 839 does need to pass if you're going to have the in lieu of tax money distributed. Now, we haven't yet talked about the Class VI issue, and I think we probably should spend a little bit of time on that. It's not something that's just hiding in 839, it was a policy decision that this body made to include that within LB 839. And I think we need to have a little bit of discussion on that also.
SPEAKER BAACK: Time.
SENATOR WITHEM: I'll punch on and we'll talk about that again.
SPEAKER BAACK: Senator Bernard-Stevens.
SENATOR BERNARD-STEVENS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, members of the body. I know both Senator Wickersham and Senator Withem both deeply believe in the causes that they're trying to champion here today. Many of us have already taken a position on one side or another. Some people are still, I think, struggling with where to go on this particular vote. A lot of questions were asked, particularly on the last debate we had on 348 in regards to the in lieu of taxes, what was constitutional, what was not constitutional. Senator Wickersham made some points of why we needed to change 348 and so on, which Senator Withem alluded to. But I thought it would be important for the body to know, I know I wanted to know, sometimes when you. listen to debate it gets confusing simply listening to both sides. So I thought it would be important, not knowing what the answer to be, to write the Commissioner of Department of Education, Joe Lutjeharms, and ask him, what's the deal, what are you going to
do? Because the question I had in my mind is, gee, what if the bill prior to this one passed that had in lieu of, and 839 failed, if that would be a problem. Because my real concern was the in lieu of taxes. I wanted that provision, that that money needs to be paid out. If it was going to be no problem, then that certainly would support Senator Wickersham's position. Or if they even thought it might not be a problem, that would support Senator Wickersham's position. If they thought it would be a problem, or clear it was going to be a problem, that would support Senator Wickersham's position. So I wrote the letter and asked them specifically, and as you got a copy of the letter, even asked the question, I asked them regarding the in lieu of taxes, if 839 would fail to become law and at the same time LB 348, which we previously today passed into law in its present form, would LB 348 allow the department to spend some in lieu of tax dollars? It's a very straightforward question. And the department came with a very straightforward response. They could have responded in a way that Senator Withem might have stood and said I don't agree. In this case Senator Wickersham is saying doesn't agree, but the point of the matter is the Department of Education says that basically 348, if that's the only law that's out there, and we do not advance this bill or pass this bill today, the in lieu of taxes will not be paid. Now, maybe there will have to be a court challenge, and maybe a year later it would be decided upon, and maybe it could be argued that there's a potential for it, that it could be paid. But the fact of the matter is as these budgets become made, they cannot put the in lieu of taxes because if this bill doesn't pass the department is saying they will not distribute the funds. I also went to a special briefing the Department of Education gave, I think to all senators, at least I know I stopped by on my own to the Education Committee. And the department was saying, before this issue was up here, the department was saying how important it was to have a statutory change in in lieu of taxes, because under the current guidelines or the Attorney General and the cases before us, Bartels v. Lutjeharms, they could not distribute the money on the in lieu of taxes. Something had to be done. And the wording and the intent language, by both Senator Wickersham and Senator Withem, both were saying that the wording ... wordage that is now in 839 needs to be the wordage to allow for it to be given out as it should be. The letters here. If we want the in lieu of taxes to be paid, we really have no choice but to vote for LB 839. If you don't like the in lieu of tax, there's a two year delay. There's another battle for another day. It's just like the hold
SPEAKER BAACK: One minute.
SENATOR BERNARD-STEVENS: ... on the 1059, there is a two year delay. That two years came, there was another fight and there was another extension. I don't know what will happen two years from now on the single levy, unified levy. I know there will be a battle two years from now. But to fight a battle now that's already delayed by the bill for two years and jeopardize the in lieu of taxes, to me is not good policy towards our school districts, particularly *those that are desperately in need of the in lieu of tax monies. That's why I'll be- supporting 839, even those on the fence I'd urge you to vote for 839, the other battles will be coming at another time.
SPEAKER BAACK: Thank you, Senator Bernard-Stevens. Senator Bromm.
SENATOR BROMM: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, senators. It is difficult for me to deal with this issue to some extent because I have districts in my area, 23rd District, that most definitely could use the distribution of these funds. And I also have Class VI's that will be impacted significantly. However, in looking at the issue, trying to resolve the proper position, I have to bear in mind that I think Senator Wickersham made a good faith effort the other day to amend 348, to put in the identical language that Senator Withem and Mr. Lutjeharms and Senator Bernard-Stevens are comfortable with, so that if both bills did not pass, we had the formula, the identical formula in 348 that we've got in 839. Now these senators resisted that and they vigorously rejected that language. Why did they do that? And the only reason that I can conclude is that they were not comfortable with letting the formula go through on 348 for distribution of these funds because they needed the support of those senators who feel compelled to distribute those funds as a part of the uniform levy provision in 839, they needed to tie them together. Well, I object to doing it in that fashion. I think the uniform levy is a significant policy change. We're dealing with a whole class of school districts out there. And I can assure you if it was that dramatic a change for the Class III's or the Omaha or the Lincoln districts, that we would not be doing it in this fashion, we would not be comfortable doing it in the fashion that this is being done. For that reason I'm willing to take my chances on 348. I read the
letter, I see what the letter says from Mr. Lutjeharms. I think the timing of the letter, even though it's appropriate, I suggest that he doesn't necessarily have the final word in the letter as to whether be distributes those funds or not. And if he doesn't distribute the funds, we'll be here in January, we'll have a bill, we could have a bill with an emergency clause if we can't get that money distribted to do it in January. But I object to being forced to distribute the money in this fashion. I want ample time, I want ample debate, I want an opportunity to look at the policy issue on the Class VI's in the way that it deserves. And I don't want to have to have that policy decision forced upon me with the threat that these monies won't be distributed otherwise. I'm willing to take my chances. We'll get this money distributed, hopefully sooner than later, but it will be distributed. We won't lose out on those funds. And so I urge the body to reject 839 and go with 348, and if we need to make some adjustments next year we'll do it. Thank you.
SPEAKER BAACK: Thank you, Senator Bromm. Senator Lynch. Question has been called. Do I see five hands? I do. We will now vote on ceasing debate. All those in favor vote aye, opposed vote no. Record, Mr. Clerk.
CLERK: 26 ayes, 0 nays to cease debate, Mr. President.
SPEAKER BAACK: Debate has ceased. Senator Wickersham, would you like to close on your motion.
SENATOR WICKERSHAM: Thank you, Mr. President. I will be brief. Senator Withem, I apologize to you for using the 80 percent figure. I was doing that in a generic sense because that is, of course, the standard that is used for the valuation of ag lands. The language, in the bill that I was discussion for introduction next year, is exactly the language that is in LB 839, so would employ the sane percentage. If it happens to be something other than ag lands, it would be 100 percent, if it was ag lands, it would be 80 percent. If that was a confusing reference, I apologize to you for that. I've used exactly the same language that we've been banting about. The difficulty that we were confronting the last time we talked about this with the differences between 348 and 839 are still with us. LB 348 still has a 100 percent factor in it, 839, if we adopt that, has a floating percentage which would be 80 percent for most of the Board of Educational Lands and Funds properties. I don't know what the legal effect is if we pass both bills. Completely I
can speculate about it and speculate about what the last expression of legislative intent might mean in terms of LB 839 being last on the agenda today, if it passes. Could also speculate about what difference different operative dates might have on the distribution of funds. If I remember correctly LB 348 had the emergency clause, has passed with enough votes to make the emergency clause operative. LB 839 has the emergency clause, if it doesn't get enough votes the emergency clause would not be operative. A number of potential conflicts still to arise, or could arise between LB 348 and 839. I think it's appropriate to defeat 839 in part because of those conflicts and how they might be resolved, and also because I don't believe we need to have the common levy... I don't believe it's a concept that's going to work. And I do believe that the provisions in 348 are adequate to have a distribution of the in lieu of tax funds and the apportionment funds in this year. I'm confident that can occur and will occur. And I would simply urge you to vote against LB 839, and I'll withdraw my motion,
SPEAKER BAACK: It is withdrawn.
CLERK: Mr. President, Senator Withem would move to return the bill.
SPEAKER BAACK: Senator Withem.
SENATOR WITHEM: Yes, I apologize for prolonging this, but I do think... I did have that amendment up there. I will leave it up, but if anybody else wants to speak I appreciate Senator Wickersham not immediately withdrawing his. I will do the same, although if nobody wants to speak, we will withdraw it fairly quickly. I said I thought we needed to have some time to talk about the Class VI issue. That's what I intended to do. I guess I would just like to make two or three quick responses, though, to the in lieu of issue. I think nothing is 100 percent when you're dealing with courts and Attorney General's and state agencies and all of those things. But, frankly, I haven't seen a cleaner call than this. We had a Supreme Court decision saying you can't give a school district more than had they have gotten had the land been taxable. We have 348 that gives them more than they would have got had the land been taxable. We have 839 that gives them what they would have gotten had the land been taxable. It's that clear. LB 839 is the constitutional way to go, 348 probably is not, I say most certainly is not. Beyond that we also have the very clear
intention of the gentleman with the statutory responsibility to distribute the money saying he won't distribute it. Now, I think what Senator Bromm has said was an answer to the issue. I don't think it's the right one. Senator Bromm has said, in front of everyone here, that he is more comfortable, I shouldn't say he's comfortable, he's more comfortable not having the dollars distributed for in lieu of 'axes, over $20 million distributed. He's more comfortable with that than he is in passing common levy. That's a fair policy conclusion to make. I don't think it's the right vote. I don't think it's right for the State of Nebraska, but he's concluded that, and I think that is what the rest of you will be concluding if you vote no. You will be voting not to distribute the $20 million. The Class VI issue does need some discussion because, as I said before, this was discussed. I think it was a major component of our debate on Select File, not in lieu of taxes. We discussed the Class VI, we voted as a body to return the bill. We decided among a few people that were on the edge decided that they could live with it more readily if there was a two year delay. We put the two year delay in and we readvanced that. Why is it important to have a common levy? Number one, if we don't do this, this small group of Class VI schools will be the only people in the State of Nebraska, next year, who will not be paying the same tax rate on their property to support kindergarten through twelfth grade education, as everybody else using the same high school. It will be this small group of people. Why is it so important to them to want to come down to Lincoln and spend as much time as they have and to say, to say the distribution of $20 million is not as important to them as maintaining the status quo on taxation. I'd invite you to look at the 1991-92 average July levies as of 2-16-93. And you will see the Class I's and Class VI's are paying about 25 cents per hundred dollars assessed valuation, 25 cents per $100 of assessed valuation less in taxes than the statewide average. That's what the issue is about. This bill does not do anything at all with the structure of Class VI's. Class VI's remain as they are constituted. The only thing that changes is the way in which taxes are imposed, and the only thing that changes is a change that will make the taxation on Class I's in a Class VI the same as all other Class I's in the state. It was a good policy decision you made the other day, and it is a good policy decision to make today.
SPEAKER BAACK: Thank you, Senator Withem. Senator Bernard-Stevens light is on.
June 8, 1993 1
SENATOR BERNARD-STEVENS: Just briefly, Mr. Speaker, members of tile body, I did want to make one further comment. Senator Withem talked about the Class VI, I will leave that at that point. Senator Bromm made a point that I want to, at least for the record, to have kind of straight. Both sides have done an admirable job of using whatever tools they have and the system to their beat advantage. Senator Withem certainly did on the amendment process of bringing a bill back from Final Reading back to Select File. But Senator Wickersham and Senator Bromm also did, I think, what would be considered to be a good political process move on LB 348, because if one remembers on LB 348 Senator Withem came back and said, okay, if the argument is on the in lieu of taxes, if we want to have... there are two ways to fight that problem. We could change the wording for in lieu of taxes to be equal to that which is 839, or we could get rid of the problem by taking all references to in lieu of taxes out of 348. And if the body remembers, yes, Senator Withem and those of us supporting the common levy voted against the Wickersham amendment. But then the other amendment that also would have alleviated a problem of the duality of how we do in lieu of taxes, Senator Bromm and Senator Wickersham voted against the amendment that would have taken all of the in lieu of references out of 348. And that was a good, strategic move on their part, because by doing so they put its in the position we are today and they have a hope and a chance of winning. And that's the way the system should be. But, Senator Bromm, with that in mind, the one thing you mentioned that I am not willing to do, you mentioned that you were willing to take the risk of supporting the Class VI's and take the risk that the money may still be distributed, contrary to all of the decisions made even by the Supreme Court. I look at my home district, I know they've cut the entire gifted program out. I know they've cut volunteers out so our kids that are needing some help in the reading and math areas, that need the extra people to come in and help tutor, they're not there anymore. I know school districts and children that may not be able to continue the programs they have, this is not just a scare tactic, it's the true reality of education. If you're counting on funds and they're not going to be there, you have to make adjustments. I know you're willing to take the risk, Senator Bromm. I'm not sure we've asked our children if they would want its to take that risk, particularly when if you're willing to take the risk because of the common levy, 1 don't think they would tell you that it's worth taking the risk on their education and what have
you, especially when there's a two year delay and you have a chance to fight that battle again. That's the risk that's quite clearly, in my judgment, unwarranted, and I refuse to take that risk.
SPEAKER BAACK: Thank you, Senator Bernard-Stevens. Senator Wickersham, followed by Senators Bromm, Dierks, Moore, Lynch and Jones. Senator Wickersham.
SENATOR WICKERSHAM: Thank you, Mr. President. I'll be brief, because I do think that we've had a fairly extended discussion of the Class VI issue before. But I am mystified a little bit by Senator Withem's insistence that somehow the statewide average is significant when we're talking about this issue. I think everybody in this room knows that levies are a function of two things, one is a tax request, and the second is the valuation. I don't think there's any way you can tell which one of those is necessarily at play until you examine each district individually for its circumstances. I see nothing ... quite frankly, I see nothing magic in the statewide average. Sounds to me like we're being encouraged, or we're trying to encourage these schools to spend more money. And if you remember, that's exactly one of the hazards that I think is present in the common levy. Now I don't think it's Senator Withem's intention to encourage them to spend more money, I won't attribute that to him. I don't think that's his intention. And I think he's sincere when he says that won't happen. But I think it will, and when we're trying to talk about bringing people up to the statewide average when they have lower than statewide levies,- I wonder what in blazes we are talking about.
PRESIDENT MOUL PRESIDING
PRESIDENT MOUL: Thank you, Senator Wickersham. Senator Bromm.
SENATOR BROMM: I will echo Senator Wickersham from the standpoint that I will also be brief, and this will probably be a subject for next year's sine die party, being brief, I'm sure. Honorable Senator Withem, I think you have successfully twisted my conclusion around just a bit. I do riot feel that it's more important to have... to not have the common levy than to distribute the 20 million. I do not feel that. Conversely, I must conclude then that you must feel that it's more important to have the common levy than to distribute the 20 million, or you would have supported Senator Wickersham's language on 348
to ensure that the 20 million would have been distributed, even if this bill fell. You did not, so you must therefore feel the common levy is more important than distributing the 20 million, because if you lose this bill, using your analogy and Senator Bernard-Stevens' arguments, you can't distribute the money. Be that as it may, I don't think that's the conclusion that I want to leave the body with. I simply feel *hat the 20 million will be distributed, hopefully in the near future, but, if not, in the very early part of '94. And I guess I'm willing to wait that long. The school budgets have long been set for this fiscal year. If I were budgeting for next fiscal year I think that this money will be there. And I think that any programs that have been cut, have already been cut. But the budgets for next year, I think, should include this money, if I were doing a budget. In conclusion, very brief conclusion, I do think that the right thing for this body to do is to be straight up about this piece of legislation. These things shouldn't be tied together, we should vote 839 down. We should try to distribute on the basis of 348, and I think that can be done. Thank you.
PRESIDENT MOUL: Thank you, Senator Bromm. Senator Dierks.
SENATOR DIERKS: Madam President, members of the body, of course I stand in opposition to LB 839. And question, too, and I think that Senator Wickersham brought it very forcefully a minute ago. But when -we force the Class I districts to a common levy, I think we exclude the possibility for their being conservative in their thinking and their managing of their districts, because I have, for instance in Holt County, in a Class VI district at West Holt, mill levies that vary from .21 to .66 for the grade school part of the levy, for K through 8. And if we're going to force these people to a common levy, then I think that you would see eventually those people at the small end of the General Fund levy increasing theirs to have some of the same things that they might suppose are available for people at the higher end of the levy. So I don't think that this is good policy. I think that you actually are forcing, with -the common levy, an expenditure that otherwise wouldn't be made. And I would urge that you not support LB 839 for those reasons. Thank you.
PRESIDENT MOUL: Thank you, Senator Dierks. Senator Moore. Are there sufficient seconds? There are. We'll now vote on the motion to cease debate. All those in favor please vote aye, opposed nay. Have you all voted on the motion to cease debate? Please record, Mr. Clerk.
ASSISTANT CLERK: 25 ayes, 3 nays to cease debate.
PRESIDENT MOUL: We have ceased debate. I'll recognize Senator Withem for closing.
SENATOR WITHEM: Two very brief points. One of those is Senator Bromm talked about budgeting time line. I would point out that this money was supposed to have been distributed in February. It is in this last year's budget. School districts, some of them that don't have hefty reserves are going to be in a position of borrowing to meet it. It's not one of these next year sort of problems. This is money that was supposed to have been distributed in February. The other point, Senator Wickersham, is a tough one to explain, and I won't do a very good job of it I'm sure. But you talked about the whole... since when is equalizing taxes a goal of the state? I would say since LB 1059 passed that's been a goal where we at least try to get in line districts that spend high also have to tax high, those chat spend less have to ... can then, in fact,. tax on a lower .Level. The printouts we saw on Class VI's, that doesn't apply in those cases. Those districts are counter-equalized. Would also point out, because we had a lot of discussion about state aid distribution, how that's impacted, 1059 set a lot of money from places where sales tax money is raised and income tax money is raised. into a lot of rural school districts. The City of Valentine is an excellent example of one whose property tax levy went from about $2 per $100 of assessed value down to $1. That money came from taxpayers from all over the state. And as now the City of Valentine enjoys this lower tax rate, they can look out in the rural areas and see places that are paying 30 cents and 40 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. It's kind of a complex issue. But the point is it has been the tax policy of the state since 1059 passed, it continues to be the tax policy of the state. And I think what the common levy aspect does is just move that one more point. I would withdraw this motion.
PRESIDENT MOUL: Thank you, Senator Withem. The motion is withdrawn. Since we have nothing further on the bill, would the senators please return to their seats so we can proceed with Final Reading. Please proceed, Mr. Clerk.
ASSISTANT CLERK: (Read LB 839 on Final Reading.)
PRESIDENT MOUL: All provisions of law relative to procedure
having been complied with, the question is, shall LB 839 pass with the emergency clause attached? All those in favor please vote aye, opposed nay. Have you all voted? Have you all voted? Senator Withem, did you wish to be recognized?
SENATOR WITHEM: It's okay, record.
PRESIDENT MOUL: Record, Mr. Clerk.
SENATOR WITHEM: I'm switching to not voting for purposes of reconsideration.
CLERK: (Read record vote as found on pages 2844-45 of the Legislative Journal.) 27 ayes, 17 nays, 4 present and not voting, 1 excused and not voting, Madam President.
PRESIDENT MOUL: LB 839 does not pass with the emergency clause attached. The question now is, shall LB 839 pass? All those in favor please vote aye, opposed nay. Have you all voted? Have you all voted? Please record, Mr. Clerk.
CLERK: (Read record vote as found on page 2845 of the Legislative Journal.) 29 ayes, 17 nays, 2 present and not voting, 1 excused and not voting, Madam President.
PRESIDENT MOUL:. LB 839 passes.
CLERK: Madam President, priority motion. Senator Withem would move to reconsider the passage of LB 839 with the emergency clause attached.
PRESIDENT MOUL: Senator Withem.
SENATOR WITHEM: Yes, just procedurally where we are now is that the bill has passed. The common levy, once the ... once the Governor signs it, if the Governor does sign it, will be the law of the state and will not go into effect for two years down the road. We do not need -the emergency clause for that, that issue is behind you. The distribution of the in lieu of taxation, if the bill does not have the emergency clause, it will be three months down the road before that money is distributed. And, as I've indicated, this isn't next year's money we're talking about, this is last year's money for last year's budget to pay the salaries at the end of the year, the bills at the end of the year. So, if you would... if you would please reconsider your
vote, really now is only on the timing question of when the common levy, excuse me, the in lieu of tax money is distributed. Maybe should make one other comment. Senator Wickersham did make reference to the fact that two different bills, two competing statutes have passed on the same day. I believe, I've been told anyway, that the standard is that the latter one passed is the one that does, in fact, go into effect. And as the primary sponsor of LB 348, the author of that language that is a question regarding in lieu of taxes in that bill, and the author of the language in LB 839, that clearly is what I intended to happen was that the latter of the two bills that would pass would be the one that would dominate. So, hopefully, that will clarify the issue. On the other hand, you probably could vote no on the emergency clause now, and the fact that this bill, 839, would not go... 348 would go into effect immediately, 839 would go into effect three months down the road, it probably would be clear then that 839 does repeal 348. I think either way you vote it will be clear that 839 is the dominating statute. And I would urge you simply the only issue now is the three months delay of paying the in lieu of taxation. So I would urge you to reconsider.
PRESIDENT MOUL: Thank you, Senator Withem. Senator Elmer.
SENATOR ELMER: Thank you, Madam President. Senator Withem is correct, there is no need to belabor the issue that the bill is passed. And to assure that we do the proper thing, I do think we need to attach the E clause. I support the reconsideration.
PRESIDENT MOUL: Thank you, Senator Elmer. Senator Will. I don't believe there's been sufficient debate yet, Senator Will, but no one else is seeking to be recognized, so I will recognize Senator Withem for closing. Closing is waived. We'll now vote on the. motion to reconsider. All those in favor please vote aye, opposed nay. Have you all voted? Please record, Mr. Clerk.
CLERK: 35 ayes, 3 nays, Madam President, on the motion to reconsider the Final Reading vote with the emergency clause attached.
PRESIDENT MOUL: The motion is approved. The question now is, shall LB 839 pass with the emergency clause attached? All those in favor please vote aye, opposed nay. Have you all voted? Please record, Mr. Clerk.
CLERK: (Read record vote as found on page 2846 of the Legislative Journal.) 40 ayes, 7 nays on the final passage of 839 with the emergency clause attached, Madam President.
PRESIDENT MOUL: LB 839 passes with the emergency clause attached. While the Legislature is in session and capable of conducting business, I propose to sign and do sign LB 724, LB 757, LB 757A, LB 782, and LB 839. That completes Final Reading. Next item on the agenda is motions, overrides.