Committee on Revenue LB 613, 490

Public Hearing

February 9, 1995

Page 56


LB 490


SENATOR KRISTENSEN:  Well, with that admonition, my name is Senator Doug Kristensen, representing the 37th Legislative District, here to introduce to you this afternoon LB 490.  LB 490 is an extremely familiar topic for this committee.  LB 490 does adopt the Tax Equalization and Review Commission Act, as we've discussed many times in this committee, and certainly previously this year, about the dire need for equalization.  We can discuss all we want to about the future of property taxation.  But, in the meantime, we do have a property tax system that we have some responsibility to make sure runs as fairly as possible.  I have three or four goals for this piece of legislation.  This is to codify, obviously, the change that we hope will be made in the Nebraska Constitution, but at the same time, this is designed to operate during the interim, pending the implementation, or the full implementation of the constitutional amendment.  First of all, the first goal is to make it easier to appeal.  Obviously, in the way that this piece of legislation is drafted, and I will tell the committee there are amendments I want to make to this bill.  I will not sit and outline them specifically to you now.  I'll do so at a later time as I have them in...  in my hand for specifics.  But, the goal would be, obviously, once an assessment is made at the local level, the appeal may be


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taken to the County Board of Equalization.  That's where the system tends to break down.  It's very difficult for friends and neighbors to raise property tax values that need to be.  It's also sometimes very difficult to lower them, depending on what the circumstances are.  I would suggest to you that we need some system to make it easier for individual homeowners and individual landowners to appeal the assessments, not only on a basis of equalization, but merely even at times on their classification of their property.  Now, I would hope, and I know I've had discussions with people who will follow who are certainly interested in equalization as a good policy, that perhaps one of the best things we could do to amend this bill would be to have some way for the taxpayers to go back to their local assessor first, and present and...  and make some...  if for nothing else, a review, a technical review of their individual piece of property.  Beyond that, the Tax Equalization Review Commission, obviously, would be the appeal body where the...  the taxpayer would be able to avoid the district court and go directly to this commission for their purposes of appealing their valuation.  The only way, in...  in my opinion, that you're going to achieve good...  equalization across the State of Nebraska is by proper equalization and valuation and proper assessment of individual tracts.  If you do not have people who can easily access the system, make sure they get their appeals heard, you will never get this done.  The Tax Equalization Review Commission, upon review of these individual tracts, also has the ability to review county to county, intercounty equalizations and assessment.  You also, I think, need to give them the ability to do intracounty work as well.  With that, they'll be able to point out and find problems that exist from one district to another.  I think it would work well, and I think we should explore using Senator Wickersham's concept of regional appeals, or regional consideration of appeals, perhaps putting that even in it at the County Board of Equalization level, so that you have a broader range of people reviewing those things from the individual assessors.  I also removed the property tax division from the Nebraska Department of Revenue.  I don't do that because of my problems with the Department of Revenue, but I think that this committee will find that, in the future, the desire for property tax relief will inevitably lead to a distribution systeM. I want to remove the politics out of the distribution system, much like we did with 1059, to take the state aid to schools and sort of make it an Independent division, remove that from the Department of Education.  What is so dangerous here would be if the Department of Revenue, through its work or gathering of information, would


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 have control, or through some direction to the county assessors, would have control of what valuations are.  If they were in charge of the distribution formula, as well, they not only could have pressure brought to bear upon them, and it would be a very unfair pressure, but it certainly would be a very real pressure, to not only tinker with the distribution formula, but change one of the variables, and that would certainly be some of the assessments across the State of Nebraska.  Much has been made about the make-up of the Equalization and Review Commission.  I am open to do so.  I have stuck in that one of the members, as the chair, should be an attorney for the purposes of appeal, and knowing the rules of evidence.  I am seriously considering, and think that this committee should be considering as well, the opportunity to make this a valuation and an assessment appeal system, and not necessarily a legal appeal, at least during the interim, until the time that the Constitution is changed.  If that's true, there's no need to make them attorneys.  Then, it's much better off to make this board a more knowledgeable board of assessments and of equalization and valuation processes.  And, make them more of a board that does solely appeals on that basis.  And...  and, salary makes me no difference.  I've plugged in the salary of district judge types, or county court judges, I believe; but, that certainly can be raised or lowered; and, out of a mere necessity, to house that in Lincoln, although I think you need this board to have the ability to travel the State of Nebraska and to have masters.  Senator Warner, that is the ...  the basics of what the legislation will do.  I will have amendments coming, but those amendments will be consistent with the concepts that I've laid out here.  And, I do appreciate the opportunity to present that this afternoon, and hope the committee would be willing to work on an interim basis between now and the time the Constitution, hopefully, is changed.


SENATOR WARNER:  Is it your anticipation that this ...'s not your intent that this could be enacted now and function prior to the constitutional amendment, but it would not ...  it would not take effect until after the constitutional amendment was approved?


SENATOR KRISTENSEN:  Well, it ...  the way that it sets right now is that it obviously will not come into effect until 1996, and only because we're here.  This ...  this could work on an interim basis between now and the passage of the constitutional amendment.  That brings me to the other point.  The major thing that the ...  the Tax Equalization and Review Commission will do is make a recommendation to the


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State Board of Equalization ahead of time and say, here is how we see that equalization should be achieved in the State of Nebraska.  And, they'll have independent, obviously, information than what the State Board of Equalization may have and, thus, puts some pressure to make sure that the law is carried out and done correctly.


SENATOR WARNER:  Questions?  Apparently not.  Thank you.




SENATOR WARNER:  Next, please.  Those of you who...  those of you who are going to testify perhaps can sign in ahead of your appearance, so that ...  to save a little time.


JOHN JORDISON:  Chairman Warner, members of the Revenue Committee, my name is John Jordison.  I'm appearing here on behalf of the Nebraska Tax Research Council, in diplomatic support of LB 490.


SENATOR LANDIS:  Do I take it that relations have opened between your two nations again and there's now an embassy that...


JOHN JORDISON:  Well, we diplomatically opposed LR 3CA, so...  We do agree in concept, as we did with LR 3CA, that this is an action that the Legislature needs to undertake.  We agree that there ought to be no more politics involved in the assessment and equalization of property taxes, and that there ought to be an alternative to district court for taxpayers to have their grievances addressed.  We do have questions.  We have concerns about LB 490 as it's been drafted.  But, Senator Kristensen has been very cooperative in listening to some of our concerns.  And, we are working to try to come up with some language that will achieve the goals that he has outlined, yet not recreate for Nebraska some of the problems that we've seen in states like Wyoming, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan and Minnesota.  We do want the process to move forward.  Senator Warner, on the floor the other day, Senator Bromm asked you questions about what are we doing to address valuation in Nebraska.  And, I think that this bill, along with some of the things that the committee and that the Legislature has undertaken so far, LB 452, the property tax calendar bill; even the State Board's actions last year, I think, are...  are moving us forward.  Anything we can do to help the valuation process, I think, will help the equalization process.  Sometimes I think we get too concerned about equalization, but if you have good valuation to start with, I think it minimizes the


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equalization problems.  We would like to see a professional body to oversee the valuation process by assessors, to create a paper trail, if you will, for taxpayers to go back and protest.  We would like to see a ...  a body to hear appeals, but also to have a filter in place, whether it's the County Board of Equalization or the regional boards that were set up in LB 902 last year, something to filter those appeals so that the ...  Senator Kristensen's proposed commission does not get swamped or backlogged with appeals.  We would suggest that you still need to have an appeal to the court system that the Tax Equalization Commission not be the ...  the final court of appeal, with lower case letters.  We would like this to be able...  available to all taxpayers, not only landowners and residential property owners, but to all taxpayers.  We would like to see this body have the authority to remove assessors or to take other actions that would result in better valuation.  We would like it to be user friendly, removed from political pressures.  And, if that means separation from the Department of Revenue, we understand that.  Senator, I'd entertain any questions that you have.


SENATOR WARNER:  Any questions?  Senator Schellpeper.


SENATOR SCHELLPEPER:  What do you mean by remove assessors?  If they're elected by the voters, how do you remove an assessor?  I mean, have this...


JOHN JORDISON:  It's my understanding, Senator ...  I'm sorry.


SENATOR SCHELLPEPER:  If they're...  to me...  I was wondering how you would do that.


JOHN JORDISON:  It's my understanding, and I don't...  I assume it's in statute, that the State Tax Commissioner now has the authority to order an assessor removed from his office, or her office, because they have not undertaken the basics of their job.  And, we would like to see that continued with whoever has the ultimate authority.




SENATOR WARNER:  Anyone else.  Thank you, John.


JOHN JORDISON:  Thank you.


DAVID BURKHOLDER:  For the record, my name is David Burkholder.  I'm Chairman of the Taxation Committee for the Nebraska Cattlemen.  I'm appearing here today in opposition


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to this bill.  After considerable debate among our group, we decided that this was kind of another layer of bureaucracy and ...  and government, and we keep asking for government to be cut back and to spend less.  And, this bill is certainly proposing that we would spend somewhat more money doing it.  We are also going to present later to this committee ...  much later, ideas that would do away with 1059, and the 1059 distribution formula.  And...  and, when that happens, the ...  the need for equalization among counties, as opposed to within a county, tends to go away, the ...  the issue that we've had here the last several years.  We did bring up in our discussion, and would like to ask this committee, Senator Kristensen, instead of putting one layer of bureaucracy on top of another layer, what would be the ...  the net cost to the taxpayers to the State of Nebraska if we replaced 93 separate assessors with one central assessing organization?  We would ...  we would not want to give ...  give up our local county assessors very easily or for a small sum of money, but if you could show us a substantial savings, we'd be interested.  Thank you.  I'd like to answer any questions.


SENATOR WARNER:  Questions' Senator Kristensen.


SENATOR KRISTENSEN:  And, we don't have all afternoon to ...  to do this but, essentially, your testimony would tell me that you don't believe that there's a substantial problem with valuation and equalization across the state; otherwise, your testimony would be that this is a small amount of money to solve the ...  the major problem?


DAVID BURKHOLDER:  I ...  I understand what you're saying.  You know, there ...  there's no A bill with this one.  We don't really know what the ...  the cost of this was going to be.


SENATOR KRISTENSEN:  If I told you that the fiscal note was less than $400,000, would that make a difference?


DAVID BURKHOLDER:  Yeah.  I understand what you're saying.  I'm appearing here as a member of the Cattleman's Association, and we've got an awful lot of members that that sounds like an awful lot of money to.


SENATOR KRISTENSEN:  Does that ...  does your membership have a concern about property that is located in the same area, but ...  on one side of the line, it's valued at $1,200 an acre, and the person across the road is at $800 an acre?


DAVID BURKHOLDER:  Yes, sir.  They do have a concern about


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that.  I ...  I guess the feeling of people in general was that that is not as bad as it used to be, and it's being ...  that situation is being improved.  Now, it's ...  it's still ...  it's not perfect yet, that's for darn sure.  That's the best answer I can give you.


SENATOR KRISTENSEN:  Did your membership talk about that we give out almost $300 million a year in state aid to schools, and that the fundamental principle there is that everybody's values need to be equal to make that a fair system?  Was that a consideration?


DAVID BURKHOLDER:  I don't know if I can answer that with a short answer, you know.  Fundamentally, we don't like the 1059 distribution formula.  We want to get it off of property and, essentially, much more related to income.  And, when ...  if and when that can be done, then valuation ...  equalization among counties, the issue kind of goes away.


SENATOR KRISTENSEN:  But ...  but you understand that ...




SENATOR KRISTENSEN:  ...  until ...  until your perfect world arrives, that I've got to live with this system.




SENATOR KRISTENSEN:  And, in terms of bureaucracy, your members would rather go to district court to complain about their values than they would be go to a commission that would be solely doing this full time, and that you wouldn't have to go to the court system?  Your members would prefer that system?


DAVID BURKHOLDER:  Now, you''re being mean to me, Senator Kristensen.




DAVID BURKHOLDER:  A...  a lot of people probably didn't realize how difficult the present system is, if you really want to appeal, and...  and that the fact that this might make it a lot...  simpler.  Also, I want to say, as opposed to John Jordison , I had not had the opportunity to counsel with you about possible amendments before the...  our position was established.


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SENATOR KRISTENSEN:  Well, I ...  we're talking philosophy at the moment.




SENATOR KRISTENSEN:  Yeah.  Okay.  I ...  the purpose is is that it's real easy to come in and say, a commission causes me a lot more grief so we're against it.  And, then what I suggest is that you haven't taken the time to sit down and look at what the real problems are, and what really...  your membership ...  your membership should be the first people coming in the door, saying we want some relief in equalization in our assessments and our valuations because that's where we hear most of the complaints.  So, I thank you for coming in.


SENATOR WARNER:  Anyone else?  Thank you, Dave.  Always appreciate your coming in.  John.


JOHN BOEHM:  Members of the committee, for the record, my name is John BoehM. I'm appearing today on behalf of myself.  And, I am opposed to a portion of LB 490.  1 don't have a particular problem with the concept of the assessment review committee, although I would suggest that you might consider staggering the terms of its members.  My concern is with the creation of this position called the property tax administrator which, in essence, as I read the bill, places the entire property tax administration of the state under a government bureaucrat who is essentially accountable to no one.  I appreciate the concerns that you want to take politics out of the ...  the assessment and equalization process.  But, we do live in a democratic society.  It is inherently political in nature.  And, there's some good things about that.  And ...  and one of those good things is accountability.  And, I think when you take and create an appointed government bureaucrat that can only be removed for cause, and we know what that means as a result of the State Personnel Board, essentially almost nothing that they can be removed for; I think you create some problems and that you ...  you don't really have an accountable systeM. There's nobody for the voters to go to, particularly an elected official to go to.  So, I would recommend or suggest that you reconsider that...that portion of the bill and consider placing that individual, making them accountable to some elected official, elected body, somewhere.  If you want to tighten up the ...  or eliminate some of the judgment inherent in this process, and I think you could do part of that right now, simply by doing what you've already done in regard to the valuations for LB 1059.  There ...  and I have seen this


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done in other states.  The law simply says that whatever the sales assessment ratio is, the final sales assessment ratio, then there shall be an adjustment to bring that up to a hundred percent level.  It's taking really Senator Warner's bill that he introduced this year, instead of just narrowing the gap, to take it all the way.  And, I think you could probably do that without a constitutional amendment.  And, those would be the suggestions that I would have.


SENATOR WARNER:  Okay.  Questions?  Is there any questions?


SENATOR KRISTENSEN:  You know, we discussed doing that very thing.  The trouble is that when you raise it to a hundred, you're obviously going to have some people below a hundred.  And ...  and, to do that, then you ...  you bring a group of people over a hundred, and those are the ones that we usually get ...  those are the ones that always bring suit against us.


JOHN BOEHM:  Well, you know, that's going to happen anytime you're dealing with using averages, as your...  as your measure.  And ...  but, by ...  by maybe perhaps making it statutory, making it mandatory, and giving no leeway, it's going to encourage better assessment practices at the local level.


SENATOR KRISTENSEN:  Yeah.  And, that's what...  and I think your ...  your opinions are reasonable.


JOHN BOEHM:  And, you could ...  you know, you could probably stagger it in...  in place.  Use Senator Warner's bills as a starter, and just have it, reduce that gap every year.  Make it statutory and make it mandatory.


SENATOR KRISTENSEN:  The other one I have, just real briefly so we understand what we're doing with the property tax administrator.  Right now, who...who's in charge of the property tax division of the state?


JOHN BOEHM:  Well, ultimately...  initially, the Tax Commissioner is and then, ultimately, the Governor.  So, I think people have some recourse if they're not satisfied with the administration of property tax.


SENATOR KRISTENSEN:  And, the...  the Tax Commissioner though is appointed by the Governor, right?


JOHN BOEHM:  He's appointed by the ...  he or she is appointed by the Governor and can be fired at will by the Governor.


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And, I ...  and I think that's not bad.


SENATOR KRISTENSEN:  And ...  but, the property tax administrator is going to be appointed by the Governor as well?


JOHN BOEHM:  but, for a term of six years, and then the next governor, assuming that, you know, that there's a change in administration, is going to be set with that particular individual in place for at least two years of the term; depending on how it's ...  how it all works out, perhaps the entire terM. But ...  but I guess my concern is not so much the Governor as the people.


SENATOR KRISTENSEN:  It's the six-year term that ...  that you think freezes ...  I mean, right now, there are bureaucrats that are just at will with the Governor.


JOHN BOEHM:  Well, but ...  but ...  they do have to ...  they do ultimately have to be accountable to an elected official.  Once this person is put in place for that six-year term, they are not accountable to anybody.  And, I think that's not good for citizens who have complaints, and they want redress, going to someone who simply is not accountable.  You don't always get very good answers, and you don't get good responses because they're...  it's just inherent in bureaucracy.  There develops a certain arrogance and a certain lack of sensitivity and a lack of concern.  And, unless you have that accountability through an elected official, at some level, I just think there's too much potential for abuse as a power.


SENATOR WARNER:  Anyone else.  I assume if ...  if the Governor...  if the individual did not have to be removed for cause, but simply serve at the pleasure of the Governor, even though it might be a six-year term, that would...that would...


JOHN BOEHM:  That would make it more acceptable, I think.


SENATOR WARNER:  That would, I would think ...  yeah, may address your ...  your concern if...and if the Governor began to make political appointments, why...


JOHN BOEHM:  Yeah, I've often considered that...that perhaps a property tax...  or I mean a Tax Commissioner, ought to be appointed for a terM. But, I still think there's ...  ultimately I still think there needs to be that accountability to an elected official as Dart of our


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SENATOR WARNER:  Anyone else?  Thank you, John.


JOHN BOEHM:  Thank you.


JOHN MOORE:  Thank you for your patience.  My name is John Moore.  I'm from Dawson County, and I represent NACO on the NACO board.  And, I'm the county assessor.  I was...the volume of the change here is ...  is almost a little bit overwhelming for some of us who don't work with this all the time.  So, bear with me if I don't get real concise.  I'm wondering if in our rush all the time to try and correct a problem, we've never really decided what the problem is.  1 mean, we all dwell on equalization as if that's the main problem, and maybe it is.  But, when we ...  when we bass equalization solely on statistical information, rather than things like benchmarks and such as that, when we have ...  when we don't really understand what we're up against.  Just simply putting these things into...  into place, and bringing one person in and changing their value, is not going to cure what ails you.  And, as I told you this before, the basis Of all this is doing the job right in the first place, and that's being out there measuring houses, talking to the people, and looking at what you're valuing.  And, you don't do that by adding 10 percent to a class of property, or increasing one or two houses, as people don't ...  appeal or don't appeal.  My experience has been the ones that get treated the worst are the ones that are least likely to appeal anyway, and that's the older homes, the older people who are on fixed incomes who may be already at a hundred percent as opposed to people who have newer homes that might be at 85 percent, say.  So, I ...  I don't know that you're really going to cure that.  I'd like to see you...  I mean, I like the concept.  Don't get me wrong, and I ...  and I agree with John Boehm that there's a ...  it's scary for an assessor to Bee someone that looks like a tax czar to be in charge of it, if they don't have any real recourse.  But, what I'd like to see is...  is the ability of this board to say to my county board or any other county board, you've got to give that assessor the tools that are necessary to do the job.  And, that includes reappraisal.  Now, you need in your...  in your...  and maybe this is inherent in this, but you need to make it clear that that commission has the right to tell a county board they have to spend the money to reappraise to cure the problem, not just do it with a band-aid approach like we've been doing, where 15 or 20 people, or 100 people come in a year and complain about assessments, and you do something for them and you haven't


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done anything for the 8,000 other people out there.  And, you assume by doing that you're equalized.  I guess we need to decide who really isn't doing the job in this case.  And, I'm afraid you're going to have to, to a degree, look towards the top and go down, at ...  at some point, because 1 seem to recall being here a year ago when we got this 95 percent thing pounded in our head.  Many counties thought that was gospel and ...  and we know what the result was.  So, you know, it's a two-way street here.  So, if...  if you still have those problems, even with this commission, you really haven't cured, I think, what you're after.  But, I think the concept is good.  I was particularly impressed when you talked about the makeup being...  or the board being ...  or the commission being people who have ...  maybe an evaluation of an assessment system rather than maybe a legal or litigation type systeM. I agree with that because I think one of the problems we've had is we're not all talking the same language a lot of times.  Without the experience of knowing what a COD or a PRD or all those other silly statistical things are, you lose a lot of people right off the bat.  And, you...  I...I've been a assessor ...  this is my third term, and I was in the office two years before that.  We never started talking about coefficient of dispersion till the last two years.  That was totally ignored.  And...  and so, I think it's been good from that point.  We're working toward the right direction.  But, I dare say, there are very few county board members out there who understand it.  So, you know, we still have that educational probleM. And, I also think, if you want to really make this effective in terms of taxpayers, they're not going to be any more excited about appealing if they have to drive to Lincoln to do it, than they are right now just get off the tractor and come into the court house.  So, your idea of having a...  a traveling situation into regions is ...  is very good, too.


SENATOR WARNER:  Thank you, John.  Any comments ...  questions, I mean?  Thank you, John.  Anyone else to appear ...  am I doing support or opposition?  Support?


SENATOR KRISTENSEN:  Well, we've had some opposition and one support and one, I don't know.


SENATOR WARNER:  Yeah.  We've kind of been shopping around.


R.J.  BROWN:  R.J.  Brown, 4909 Davenport Street, Omaha, Nebraska.  I'd like to bring up quite a few amendments to this bill, and it's far reaching, all the way from small claims court court, all the way to assessments, into the death of deceased persons.  And, I've read the whole context


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of it.  And, the key is on page 75, it comes down to six-year terms.  Also, it says professional ...  and this is the key that I read into it as six professional assessors to go across state line ...  or go across county lines.  What they haven't figured out, and I tried to point to this board before, is sure, your assessments I assume goes up, but your levy is supposed to go down.  But, you forgot one thing.  School boards don't like to lower those levies, and guess what happens.  That's what happens.  There's about three of them in Douglas County that didn't lower theM. Now, you go across these nice county lines, from Sarpy to, basically, Douglas County, and where are you going to do an appraisal for the levy, that increase?  While you were looking at the assessment value, you were thinking, well, they're going to lower their mill levy that year, but they didn't do it.  What I always brought up, and I brought up this in August and in July, is the base, an average.  Because, if you take a look at Lancaster County; you take a look at Douglas County; you take a look at Sarpy County; you've got the bulk of the people in those areas.  So, anywhere east on 1-80, you can find everybody in the location.  Now, there's going to be a bubble in the school districts in that area.  The population always shifted.  But, what has happened is that if you're going to put it in the local Lancaster County, they're not going to see the overall levy.  They're assuming the assessment goes up, it's going to lower down that levy.  But, they don't know that year if that levy is going to go down or not for that school area, which is 60 percent of the base.  What I had an idea, and I brought this up to the Governor, and Senator Warner was there at the same time, and is that you put an average...  let's say you have units all the way across the state of Nebraska.  Those units are all total, and then average it out per square footage instead of improvements.  That's been done before, but it seems like people do not want to listen to some option to this 490.  If we're describing appeal process., we're going past the time that it ain't even constitutional yet, to the people.  So, you're preempting the people on this because this bill, on page 75, says it starts January 1, '96.  Now, when's the next election, that we can put the constitutional amendment on it, for the appeal process?


SENATOR WARNER:  Ninety-six.  Okay.  Do you want to stay with the specifics, R.J., because we've got four bills to go yet?


R.J.  BROWN:  All right.  Right.  Well, that's just the alternative.  If everybody's working on an option, they don't want to listen...  in front of the...  anyplace that I


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come to, except when you run an option of something that's going to be appealed, which is new; this is new.  They don't want to listen to the options.  Nothing in the State of Nebraska wants to listen to options.  Well, I brought it up at them option avenues, and it seems like it's ignored.  And, every time I come to this Revenue Committee, which I've come for many, many years, it seems like we got a deaf ear.  Clean this ear out or this cobweb over here.




R.J.  BROWN:  That's what makes me disgusted.  Six professionals, assessment administration on page 31.  Who is those professionals?  How they going to cross those lines to make sure that the school levies are different or that we're going to look at the value, then lower down the mill levy.  Well, great, yeah.  Well, you assumed that until the school boards raise those levies and you got them taxes.  Now, you're going to have to do it with square footage, because if you improve anything whatsoever, you're going to get counterproductive on your ..your expansion.  But, if you improve it and the square footage goes out, it works better that way.  And, I still haven't seen your logical on your appeals.  You can go on and on preempting, that I again...  the constitutional amendment.  Set up appeals board.  But, what's worse yet, and it was keyed on for accountability of the six-year terM. And, that six-year term is just like what they do in Congress, when you have a senator and then you have a house of representatives.  Well, guess what, the President is ...  we got this guy in there.  Now, he's ...  he's doing this.  Where's accountability to that Governor or whoever it is in that executive office?


SENATOR WARNER:  I think we got that point, R.J.


R.J.  BROWN:  All right.  Next one I want to say, and this is really...  really in details.  This one here goes on to small claims court, and I still haven't figured out.  Your single family resident property disputes and assessment market value, not to exceed $300,000.  Now, you know a small claims court has a payout on anything whatsoever of $1,500.  Now, you're going to have to look at the base of what your percentage of that $300 ...  where did you get that $300,000 figure for a single family that's in a small claims court.  This thing far reaches all the way down.  If you look at all those rules ...


SENATOR WARNER:  R.J., 1 think that only relates to the procedure in the event that a home is valued at less than


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$300,000.  It doesn't directly involve small ...


R.J.  BROWN:  Well, that's true, but where did they get that base, or that formula to lock into that $300,000?  That's what I'm getting down to.


SENATOR WARNER:  I think it was arbitrary and capricious.


R.J.  BROWN:  Yeah, I think so, too, because most of them are getting averages.  One other thing that I want to say.


SENATOR WARNER:  ...  and reasonable.


R.J.  BROWN:  We can always say reasonable.


SENATOR WARNER:  We've got four bills to go, R.J.


R.J.  BROWN:  All right.  We've got one more thing.  And, this is...  if you notice how thick this bill is, somebody's got to read this thing, and understand it.  And, the public...  it does, understand it.  Judiciary review of the courts and appeals process.  All right.  That's a key ingredient there.  All right.  After that, where does it go from there?  Does it go to appeal of the total Supreme Court?  If you're really smart enough and you wanted to appeal it, you could be friends of the Supreme Court and test the system directly instead of going to one stage which is a smaller amount, to another stage which is the Supreme Court in that jurisdiction.  And, that's on page 11.  Like I says, I covered a lot of area, and this is the thickest book I've ever seen for ...  for areas.  Now, what ...  what I want to say, and the last thing is appraisal reports.  Now, you have appraisers, six professionals that cross those county lines.  Where are you going to get the average of those counties, the average mix, so that you can uniformly appraise that across them county lines.  Well, that's the last thing, and that's on page 3.


SENATOR WARNER:  Thank you, R.J.  Any questions?  Apparently not, thank you.  Is there anybody else that wishes to appear on...  I've lost where I'm at.  Anybody wish to appear on 490?  Senator Kristensen, would you like to close?


SENATOR KRISTENSEN:  I certainly would waive.


SENATOR WARNER:  Senator WickershaM. LB 527.  Then 549.