Floor Transcripts

Select File

LB 306 (1998)

February 5, 1998


SENATOR COORDSEN:  Thank you, Mr. Clerk.  Moving on to Select File, special order, 1998 Speaker priority bills, LB 306, Mr. Clerk.  Is there anything on the bill?


ASSISTANT CLERK:  Mr. President, the first item that I have is E & R amendments.


SENATOR COORDSEN:  Senator Bruning, the E & R amendments on LB 306.


SENATOR BRUNING:  Mr. President, I move LB 306 to E & R for engrossing.


SENATOR COORDSEN:  We do the amendments first, Senator Bruning.


SENATOR BRUNING:  Oh, thank you.  Mr. President, I move the amendment to LB 306.


SENATOR COORDSEN:  You've heard the motion to adopt the amendments to ...  the E & R amendments to LB 306.  All in favor please say aye.  Opposed nay.  They are adopted.  Next item, Mr. Clerk.


ASSISTANT CLERK:  Next amendment I have is offered by the Revenue Committee, it's found in the Journal on page 518.


SENATOR COORDSEN:  Senator Wickersham.


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  Thank you, Mr. President.  The amendment has been on file, it's in your computer and I hope you've had a chance to review it.  I'm not going to pass out a summary, although, if you have specific questions, we'll be able to, I hope, answer questions you have about the additional amendment.  The additional amendment really fits in a couple of categories, some issues that were brought up on E & R Review, but the revisor didn't feel comfortable placing those in the E & R amendments; one is a crossreference, in the motor vehicle tax section, to a definition of "disabled veteran"; one is a provision ...  well, there are a number of provisions having to do with motor vehicles, definition of...  reference from vehicle body type to motor vehicle body type, some transitional language for




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the rule-making authority from the Property Tax Administrator's Office to the Department of Motor Vehicles; a reference that will retain the Property Tax Administrator's Office as the place where notices of granted property tax exemptions go, that's exclusively ...  that's for motor vehicles, that's where all the other property tax exemptions go.  Rather than transferring that function to motor vehicles, that would be left with the Property Tax Administrator's Office.  And we add the class of the assembled vehicles, it specifies that there is a $5 fee for those.  There's a statute of limitations for refunds on motor vehicle taxes.  There are two references in the town hall meeting provisions that needed cleared up.  We had references, these refer to the vote that's required, instead of present members we're saying members present, so there isn't any thought that, for example, you have to have 55 percent of voters who aren't there; and clarify that 'he votes cast to rescind the vote to exceed the limits, the vote that's needed is a majority of those ballots that are cast not on that particular issue.  Those are kind of the little cleanup issues that E & R didn't want to put in E & R amendments.  But I would characterize those as purely cleanup.  There are two issues that are in the amendment that I wouldn't want to characterize to you as cleanup because they were the subject matter of bills that were heard by the Revenue Committee.  These are not large issues, I think they're in keeping with the spirit of 306, aside from a couple of very, very large issues that were there, one the election date for schools, and the other one the pro-rate of motor vehicle taxes.  The two bills that are in the amendment in an amended form are (LB) 935 and (LB) 1054.  (LB) 935 dealt with the preliminary levy.  As you recall, the county clerks are .required to currently calculate a preliminary levy by September 1st and publish notice in the newspaper.  We're eliminating that requirement; it became a little burdensome for the county clerks to accomplish that.  We're not eliminating the concept of the preliminary levy, what we're doing is we're saying that the requirements or the informational purposes of the preliminary levy concept can be addressed by a subsequent notice that is published by the political subdivision itself, and that notice will specify any change in what would have been the preliminary levy, and it will also require them to publish notice concerning the amount of dollars raised from property taxes that are going to change one way or the other, more or




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less.  So it requires the ...  the notice will require both the amount of property tax difference from the prior year and the preliminary...  and the preliminary levy calculation.  The second bill that's incorporated in an amended form is LB 1054.  We have a problem with miscellaneous school...with miscellaneous districts, not school districts, I'm sorry,, miscellaneous districts.  If you recall, those are aggregated into the county's 15-cent allocation.  The 13sue arose as to which county sets a budget for those miscellaneous districts.  The choice that is made in the amendment is that it would be the county board in which the most valuation for that miscellaneous district is located.  That would be consistent with a policy that we've adopted for school districts, for the affiliated school districts.  The other policy that is adopted in 1054 again pertains to the miscellaneous districts, and that is what do you do when that county, with a maximum value, sets a levy, let's say it's 5 cents.  The neighboring county, that also has property for that miscellaneous district, do they then set .another levy in their district?  Our answer is no, and that the levy that was set in the county with the highest valuation sticks, both in the county where the budget was set, and in the neighboring county or counties where there is also property.  And it sticks regardless of whether or not, in the aggregate then, in county number two, the levies for the miscellaneous districts would exceed 15 cents.  In other words, if neighboring county two has already allocated 15 cents to other districts, then when county one says, okay, we're going to give 5 cents to "X" fire district, that sticks in county two, regardless of its impact on the 15-cent allocation in county two.  County two doesn't have to include that, but it sticks.  That's the choice that's made in this amendment.  We felt it was necessary to bring this forward, have it clarified before they begin the process on August 1st.  We felt it very, very important to give those counties and those miscellaneous districts a rule so that they knew what they were going to be confronted with.  That, in summary, is the amendment.  If you have questions, I'll be happy to try to respond to them.


SENATOR COORDSEN:  Thank you, Senator Wickersham.  You've heard the introduction of the Revenue Committee amendments to LB 306.  For discussion, Senator Bromm.




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SENATOR BROMM:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  I am pleased to see the Revenue Committee come forward with a proposed rule for trying to solve the problem of the overlapping taxing districts, because we have a lot of those problems.  I know at least in two situations in my district I have fire districts that go into three different counties, but they're all part of the same fire district.  So they've been asking a lot of questions, and it's been difficult to give answers.  This will give some direction.  I do have some questions, if Senator Wickersham would yield to a few questions.


SENATOR COORDSEN:  Senator Wickersham, would you respond?




SENATOR BROMM:  Senator Wickersham, just to reiterate what you said about this district that overlaps into different counties, the county that has the highest percentage of valuation of that district, for example, a fire district, establishes the miscellaneous levy for fire districts in their county, not just for this fire district, but for all fire districts, and that levy is the levy that would carry over into the adjoining counties for that fire district.




SENATOR BROMM:  Is that correct?




SENATOR BROMM:  So in the adjoining county, when they set their levy, they will set a levy for the county as a whole, but the portion that's part of this adjacent fire district would be set with a different levy if it exceeded their limitation.


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  That's correct.


SENATOR BROMM:  Okay.  Let's say the adjoining county...  I've been thinking through this, because it's always ...  the rule you propose sounds good, but it helps for me to talk through it a little bit.  Let's say that the adjoining county, the adjoining county isn't over their 45 cents, and let's say that they set a




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levy of 8 cents for fire districts.  Okay, then the county that's setting the levy for the encroaching, interlapping district only has 5 cents of room, so they set the fire district levy at 5 cents.  The county where a portion of the fire district is has 8 cents' room, but they ...  would they be restricted to the 5 cents that's imposed by the largest county of valuation?


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  Yes, that wouldn't be an issue for the county board, it might be an issue for the patrons of the fire district...




SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  ...  because, under 1114, they can hold a town hall meeting and exceed whatever allocation any county board made.


SENATOR BROMM:  Okay.  So in the example that I gave, if the fire district felt like they needed 8 cents, and in the one county they have that much authority, but in the dominant county they only get 5 cents, their recourse is to have a fire district...


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  ...  town hall meeting.


SENATOR BROMM:  ...  town hall meeting?




SENATOR BROMM:  ...  and have a vote on whether to exceed the 5 cents...


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  And then that sticks in both counties.


SENATOR BROMM:  ...  and they would then go ahead and let's say approve 8 cents.  So in the county that's already over ...  already up to their limit of 45, they would have to go ahead and approve that and impose that levy on the portion of the real estate '%hat's in the fire district and follow that vote.  Is that correct?




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SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  That's correct.


SENATOR BROMM:  okay.  And the timing of that, you mentioned some...  some...




SENATOR BROMM:  Okay.  We may have to go on with this.  The timing of that vote, Senator Wickersham, could you educate us a little bit on how a fire district ought to approach that timing-wise so that they can get this done in time for their budget.  Let's just take this coming year, for example.  Let's just take this coming year now, they're going to start working on their budget this summer, July, and so are the counties.  And the fire district figures out that they may be bumping up against the problem that I've described.  What's the timing on what they need to try to do?


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  Okay.  They need to submit a request.  The initial request, I think, is due to the county board by August 1st.  And then the allocations are made by...  and this is also in the amendment, by September 1st.


SENATOR COORDSEN:  Time.  Senator Schellpeper, your light is next.


SENATOR SCHELLPEPER:  I'll give my time to Senator Wickersham.  Thank you.


SENATOR COORDSEN:  Senator Wickersham, Senator Schellpeper gave his time to you.


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  Thank you, Senator Schellpeper.  The time line that we're discussing, Senator Bromm, is one that was in the summary of the initial amendment to 306 that we passed out earlier.  But by September 1st there's a final allocation decision by the counties, and then the miscellaneous districts have until October 14th to vote to override that allocation decision.  I would...  I don't know whether....  If Senator Bromm...


SENATOR COORDSEN:  Is someone's microphone off, or...




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SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  No.  I will yield the balance of the time that was yielded to me by Senator Schellpeper to Senator Bromm so that he can ask a question, if he wants to.


SENATOR BROMM:  Is that all right, Senator?  Okay.  Okay, so they vote to over ...  they vote to override by ...  by October 14th, Senator Wickersham, and if they approve the override then they communicate that back to the county clerk...


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  That's correct.


SENATOR BROMM:  ...  by...


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  By October 14th, and then levies are certified on October 15th,...




SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  ...  at least by October 15th.


SENATOR BROMM:  So if they reported back on the last day, October 14th, does the county board have to meet to certify those levies then on the 15th?




SENATOR BROMM:  Okay.  So the timing,...the timing should work.  On the other hand, if the vote is...  if the vote is not a positive vote for that fire district, then they're back to...


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  The initial allocation.


SENATOR BROMM:  ...  the initial allocation, and they would simply have to adjust their budget accordingly.


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  Well, they wouldn't have to adjust the budget, because the budget would have been adopted that met those constraints.  They'd have to meet their ...  their expenditures would have to be....


SENATOR BROMM:  So the budget they would have adopted would have




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been within the constraints of the 45-cent levy.




SENATOR BROMM:  Now if they vote to override, do they then do an amended budget and file that?


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  Well, they wouldn't have adopted a budget until September...  September 30th.




SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  So they would have...


SENATOR BROMM:  The vote could come after that, though.




SENATOR BROMM:  So if the vote to override is effective and they've done their budget, assuming that it wouldn't be, then they would...  I assume they would need to amend their budget and file that, and I don't know how long, but they'd have to file it reasonably soon, probably.




SENATOR BROMM:  Okay.  Well, I think that answers some of the questions I have.  I'll yield the rest of Senator Schellpeper's time back to him.  Thank you, Senator Schellpeper.


SENATOR COORDSEN:  You have two minutes, Senator Schellpeper.


SENATOR SCHELLPEPER:  Mr. Chairman and members, as you can see, there are some issues here that there's going to be a lot of discussion about.  But the Revenue Committee thought that this Is something that we have to get out there to help these local subdivisions so in case they want to have an override.  There were some questions asked earlier about the motor vehicles.  That's in another bill that will be coming forward.  That's not all in this bill or this amendment.  So we've had some discussion about how we're going to take care of some of the problems we have out there with some of the motor vehicles.




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A.  I think, is


That will be in another bill.  But this bill here, a ...  this amendment, rather, is mostly technical, although it does have some dates in that are very important to these local subdivisions.  So it's something that we need to do to help them, if they want to have any override.  Thank you.


SENATOR COORDSEN:  Thank you, Senator Schellpeper.  Senator Bromm, your light is next.


SENATOR BROMM:  Thank you, Senator Coordsen.  Senator Raikes and I were just having a discussion, and this was rolling around in my mind a little bit, but he articulated it.  And I want to pass this on and perhaps ask Senator Wickersham to comment, if he wants.  The one thing that may not set real well with some of the taxpayers is that if I'm sitting in the corner of a county and I'm part of a fire district, but I'm not the largest part of that fire district valuation-wise, the county next door to me, where I'm not a taxpayer and don't have any supervisor or commissioner that I vote on, will set that levy and establish that levy.  And I will be...  I will be bound by that, and it could cause me to pay more than the 45 cents that the Legislature has established as a limit for the county levy, but I really won't have any say-so in that, as I understand it.  We don't provide for a vote of the fire district to reduce that levy, do we?  Or is it possible for them to have a town hall meeting and reduce the levy?  I guess I would ask Senator Wickersham to comment on that issue.


SENATOR COORDSEN:  Will you respond, Senator Wickersham?


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  There are no provisions Ito reduce the levy.  And I understand the concern that you're raising, and I thought maybe it was two-pronged, whether or not the individuals had anything to say about the budget, and I would assert that they do, because as patrons of the district they can go to the budget meeting, they can maybe be on the board.  It doesn't have anything to do with those kinds of issues.  They'll certainly be able to participate at any level that they wish to in the management of the district The other issue I think we covered earlier, and that is that they would still have the opportunity if, for example, the governing ...  the county board allocated less dollars than they wanted, they would have the opportunity to




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have a town hall vote.  The other issue of whether or not they might find that, for their particular parcel of ground, that more than 45 cents was allocated to county or miscellaneous district purposes is one that we debated in the Revenue Committee.  The alternative to the solution that we're proposing to you is to have the miscellaneous districts be on what I would characterize as a racetrack.  You simply have to go around to each county board, find out which one will allocate the least amount of money or levy to you to fit within the 45 cents, then you have to go back to some other county and say, here's the minimum that county Y will give me, how much will you give me?  And you have to set them out there on that racetrack until you find the absolute lowest common denominator, and then you have to give that absolute lowest common denominator to someone and ask them to levy that for you.  So how do you set up that racetrack process?  How do you send them out there?  How do you get them through the meeting process to find out who the absolute lowest common denominator is and then tell somebody what the lowest common denominator is and have that set as a levy, so that then you can go home and decide whether or not you want to override at a town hall meeting the absolute lowest common denominator that you found through some process.  That's, as I view it, the alternatives.  And while I understand the issue ofmaybe someone being disappointed in their individual tax notice, the other process bears its own set of problems.  And...




SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  Did you say ...  did you say...


SENATOR COORDSEN:  You had a minute yet, Senator Bromm.


SENATOR BROMM:  I'm sorry, I thought you said time was up.  And I appreciate that, Senator Wickersham.  And what you've done is tried to make it understandable and simple, and that's certainly one of the things we need to try to do as best we can.  One thing, as you were talking, that I was wondering, whether in the discussion the possibility of a blended levy ever came up, like .let's say one county said, okay, we're going to give fire districts 5 cents, another one, the second one said 7, and whether or not in that situation, where they encroach, you gave




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any thought to, okay, it should be 6 cents as a blended levy of those two authorities?  Did you talk about that, or is that wrought with problems?


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  Well, that was not discussed in the Revenue Committee.  I can tell you that I thought about that.  But what had occurred to me -that would happen then is that counties would be bidding across really the...


SENATOR COORDSEN:  Time.  Senator Janssen, your light is next.


SENATOR JANSSEN:  Thank you, Mr. Speaker, members of the Legislature.  Very interesting, very interesting conversation.  And I am trying to grasp onto what's happening here.  We're talking about fire protection districts that are in one or more county, all right, miscellaneous.  I like to use fire protection districts, because they are a miscellaneous district.  But...  and they are probably more apt, other than possibly NRDs, to what would lap on over into....  all right, all right.  They will lap over into other counties.  If I have in my county, my valuation in my county is more than it is in the other county, if it takes...  if a nickel raises "X" amount of dollars in my county, but it doesn't raise as much money in the other county, I'm going to be paying more than the person across the road.  Senator Wickersham, am I right or wrong on that?


SENATOR COORDSEN:  Senator Wickersham.


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  You ...  under the proposal that we're submitting to you, you would not pay more than anyone else did for that particular service, because the fire district levy only applies within...  if you want to use a fire district as an example, the fire district levy only applies within the fire district, it is not a countywide levy, unless you have a countywide fire district.  It only applies within the boundaries of the fire district.


SENATOR JANSSEN:  Yes, but what if that fire district is in two counties?


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  Then the residents of that fire district, whether in county A or in county B, will pay the same




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proportionate amount, based on their valuation...


SENATOR JANSSEN:  Dollar-wise.


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  ...  dollar-wise.


SENATOR JANSSEN:  So then it's adjusted in each county then.


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  No, it isn't.  The only thing that matters in the county is the valuation of the property.  The levy that's applied against the valuation of the property would be the same in both counties for that purpose.


SENATOR JANSSEN:  Yes, but is it not true that a...say, 3 cents in one county is going to amount to more dollars ...


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  That depends...


SENATOR JANSSEN:  ...  than it will in another county?


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  That depends on the valuation.


SENATOR JANSSEN:  Right, if the valuation is more in one county than it is in the other county.


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  But that's always true.


SENATOR JANSSEN:  Yes, but these miscellaneous districts are the only ones that can lap over into the other county.


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  Oh, no.  NRDs lap across counties, ESUB lap across counties, community co...


SENATOR JANSSEN:  School districts.


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  ...  school districts do, community colleges do, they all do, except ...  except counties themselves.


SENATOR JANSSEN:  All right, thank you very much.  I'll be listening to the conversation.  I'm not...  I'm going to...I'm not exactly sure that this is going to work right, but I'd give the rest of my time to Senator Wickersham, if he'd like some of my




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SENATOR COORDSEN:  Senator Wickersham, you would have not quite two minutes.


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  Okay.  Senator Janssen, I do think it will work.  And the basic reason that it will work is that the levy is the same, no matter which county lines it crosses.  Now if, as you were...  if we were going to do as I think Senator Bromm was starting to suggest, is that we have differential levies, you have 6 cents in county A, 5 cents in county B in order to fit, then you would find out that the taxpayers across the county lines bore different burdens.  And that is not the proposal that we're bringing to you.  That is not the proposal.  We're proposing that a single levy be applied to property in that district for the services of that district, whether it's in county A or county B.


SENATOR COORDSEN:  one minute.


SENATOR JANSSEN:  Could I respond?


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  I'll yield the rest of the time back to Senator Janssen.


SENATOR COORDSEN:  Senator Janssen.


SENATOR JANSSEN:  Senator Wickersham, you understand also that there are sometimes more ...  there are probably three or four different fire districts within that county.


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  And they'll all have different levies.


SENATOR JANSSEN:  And so they're all going to have different levies then, just as ...  same with the school district, they all have different levies, too.  And what ...  to mud the waters up a little bit, there could be actually...  say there's four fire districts in a county and they all border another county, which is possible, then you would have eight different counties feeding into the fire districts of that one.  I mean you could have that scenario where there would be eight fire...




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SENATOR COORDSEN:  Time.  Thank you, Senator Janssen.  Before we proceed, I would like to announce that Senator Hillman has guests seated under the north balcony--Robert Busch from Mitchell, Nebraska, and Rodney Schaneman, from Melbeta..  Please rise and let us welcome you to the Chamber.  Moving on our list of speakers, Senator Bromm. 


SENATOR BROMM:  Thank you, Senator Coordsen.  Senator Wickersham, I want to clarify something.  When I spoke of the blended levy, where one county might be 5 cents and another might be 7, 1 wasn't suggesting that they levy 7 cents in one county and 5 in the other.  I was suggesting as a solution that they levy 6 throughout the entire district, see?  So that, as you stated, everyone would be paying the same mill levy to support that district.  And that, I think, is more fair than the dilemma of having people supporting the same services, one pay 4 cents, and one pay 8 cents, depending on which county you live in.  So I ....  and I'm not suggesting that as a solution yet, I'm trying to think through this and talk about it.  But it seems to me that if what we're trying to do is to get these districts an appropriate amount of tax resources and still not exceed our levy limits, if at all possible, that we come closer to being fair if we adopt this blended approach rather than letting one county, who happens to have the most of the valuation and who might have a lot of other considerations and they've only got 15 cents to work with for miscellaneous districts, right?  And at some point in this discussion I want to get into the record, a little bit more for understanding, who all these miscellaneous districts are.  I think we have some foggy idea, but you probably have a checklist on top of your head that I could have you kind of recite, or at least somewhere, in your pocket maybe.  So would you want to comment on the pros and cons of my understanding of what I'm talking about with the blended levy?  If you would yield to a question, Mr. Speaker.


SENATOR, COORDSEN:  Senator Wickersham.


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  Yes, I'll yield and try to respond to your question.  You asked two questions.  Who are the miscellaneous districts?  The miscellaneous districts are fire districts, cemetery districts, road districts, drainage districts, the hospital districts; they're districts that do not have




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the...  some, I suppose you could have an airport authority that actually crossed a county line as well.  They are districts other than, and maybe it's a way to define them is that they're districts other than schools, ESUs, NRDs, community colleges, counties, or municipalities.  They're anybody else that uses property tax to support their operations, anybody other than schools, counties, municipalities, ESUs, NRDs, and community colleges ...  thank you, Jim ...  anybody other than those.  Okay?  Now, the ...  there are two difficulties with your proposal for an average or a blended levy.  One is that it still requires two or more county boards to consider the identical budget and to say, in some instances, this is all we're willing to allocate.  Even if they had just 1 percent of the valuation of a district, they'd still be required to sit and consider that budget.  I don't know whether that's worth the trouble, because then you're going to have miscellaneous districts...




SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  ...  running around to at least two, maybe three, maybe more county boards, trying to schedule meetings, hearings to consider budgets, when there's maybe very, very little impact in their particular county.  In addition, the average would not necessarily fully address the issue that you're raising, and that is the potential for more than a 45-cent levy, because the average could still bring more than a 45-cent levy in any one of the counties.  And, in fact, in that instance it could even bring an amount that was in excess in the primary county where the most dollars were going to be raised.  Remember, what we have now is a system that ...  what we're proposing is actually a system that at least protects those taxpayers in the county where the predominate share of the value is.  Your proposal wouldn't protect any of them.








SENATOR COORDSEN:  Sorry, gentlemen.  Senator Cudaback, for discussion on the committee amendment.




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SENATOR CUDABACK:  Mr. Speaker and members, I guess we all know why this has come about and why it's necessary to have something to correct what this body did a couple years ago with the lid limits, and we're all in frustration.  But I'd like to ask Senator Wickersham a question, please.


SENATOR COORDSEN:  Senator Wickersham, will you respond, please.




SENATOR CUDABACK:  I shouldn't interrupt you and Senator Bromm.


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  No, no, that's fine.  No, I'm listening, Senator.


SENATOR CUDABACK:  But in about 30 seconds, tell the body...  I think we're all kind of confused, as Senator Janssen alluded to there.  In about 30 seconds or whatever time you need, tell us exactly what prompted this and what your...  actually your goal is, because I think you have several bills that deal with fire districts, and some of us are kind of confused on what ....  tell us what your goal is achieving after this amendment passes to Senator Schellpeper's bill.


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  Okay.  Fire districts have been used as an example in this proposal.  It's true that it would apply to fire districts, but it's not specific to fire districts.  This applies to all of those miscellaneous districts, those folks that aren't a county, aren't a city, aren't an ESU, aren't an NRD, aren't a community college, it applies to all of them.


SENATOR CUDABACK:  Miscellaneous.


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  It is not ..it is not specific to fire districts.  What we're actually attempting to do is make the budgeting and levying process for them simpler.  Now we're doing that at some potential cost, because somebody may pay more than 45 cents for county...  for those services, the county services plus the miscellaneous district services.  Somebody, somewhere might have a levy in excess of 45 cents.  That's the trade-off, either we make the process simple, or we make the process pretty




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complicated and we develop a process that completely assures us that you'll never have a taxpayer that exceeds the 45 cents, unless they voted to do that.  That's the trade-off.  Simple.  Potential excess over the 45 cents without having a vote to do that.  That's the trade-off', simple.


SENATOR CUDABACK:  I guess that's my point.  And while you're out there, but the people who are going to exceed the 45 cents, they will always have a chance to, in the process, to vote on the ...  over the 45....


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  The people ...  the people that are served by the district always have an opportunity to have a say about the adoption of the budget.  That's done, in the case of a fire district that's done at an annual meeting, so they could easily go to that and say this is too much money, don't do that.


SENATOR CUDABACK:  Well, would this in a sense override the 45 cents for some without actually doing it?


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  There is the potential that in a county, other than the primary county, that there would be more than 45 cents on somebody's tax notice, in the county other than the primary county.  Within the primary county it's all going to fit, at least for those items where they set the budget.


SENATOR CUDABACK:  But there will be a potential for some to go over the 45 cents and not actually have to vote to do it.  Correct?


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  That's correct....


SENATOR CUDABACK:  That's correct.


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  ...  although, they would have had an opportunity to participate in a budget meeting, where the budget was submitted to the...


SENATOR CUDABACK:  Yeah.  I guess that's about as clear as mud here, but...


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  Yeah, the balance is simple or absolutely




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no excess of the 45 cents without a vote.


SENATOR CUDABACK:  I guess we're stuck on fire districts here.  But was this amendment brought to you by some fire districts and the people in the fire districts, or I shouldn't keep saying fire districts...




SENATOR CUDABACK:  ...  but, miscellaneous, whatever?


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  We're aware that the miscellaneous districts were going to have budgeting problems, we needed to try to find a way to solve it.  We've not heard from anybody that participates in the governance of a miscellaneous district that they think this is unfair or this is unreasonable.




SENATOR CUDABACK:  So there really isn't any organized opposition, maybe due to the fact that they really don't know what's going on, or what?


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  Oh, no, we've discussed it, in particular with representatives of fire districts.  And I think they're quite pleased by this proposal.


SENATOR CUDABACK:  That's what I wanted to hear.  You have discussed it with representatives of fire districts, getting back to them again, arid...




SENATOR CUDABACK:  ...  and they are quite pleased.


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  Yes, they're pleased with this solution.


SENATOR CUDABACK:  That's the point I wanted to make.  Thank you, appreciate it.






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SENATOR COORDSEN:  Thank you, Senator Cudaback.  Before we proceed, I would like to announce that Senator Wehrbein has as his guests, in the north balcony, 21 fourth graders from Plattsmouth Elementary School, Plattsmouth, Nebraska.  (Introduced teacher.) Would you please rise and let us welcome you to the Chamber today.  Thank you for coming.  I hope you enjoy your time in the Capitol.  Next speaker, Senator Jones.


SENATOR JONES:  Mr. President, members of the body, I rise in support of this amendment, because I think they kind of used Custer County for an example on a lot of this, because we have townships, and we have hospital districts, we have fire districts, and we got about eleven fire districts, and I'd say half of them lap over into other counties.  And from all of the meetings that I have had with the fire districts, I think this is one thing that they would like, because then they'd know where they was at, and that's what the problem is right now.  If they knew that the primary county would set the mill levy, and they knew that's what they'd get, and the ones that sit outside of that primary county could vote to go above it, I realize there might be some cases that they might go over the 45 cents outside of the county that it's not the primary county.  But I still think that this is the best solution that I've heard yet to try to solve this.  So again I want to rise and support Senator Wickersham's amendment.


SENATOR COORDSEN:  Thank you, Senator Jones.  Senator Wickersham, yours is the last light on, did you wish this to constitute your closing on the committee amendment?


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  I'll be pleased to do that, Mr. President.  I am grateful for the questions that have been posed this morning.  I think that they have caused us to have a good understanding of what's being presented to you.  I'm not going to presume how you want to vote.  Obviously, I hope that you'll follow the committee recommendations.  But I think the important thing for you at the moment is to understand why we're making a ,recommendation of the kind that is presented in the amendment, and that again is, as was stated in the discussion with Senator Cudaback.  We have opted for a simplified solution, one that we think is easily implemented.  There is some cost to that choice, and the potential cost is a levy by someone who resides outside




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of the primary county having potentially more than 15 cents on their tax bill that is attributable to miscellaneous districts.  But the alternative is fairly difficult to implement.  And I would again suggest that the proposal that we were discussing briefly with Senator Bromm does not solve that problem either, because, if you take an average or a blended rate, you might have one county that was willing to be very generous, another one that was not willing to be very generous, the average ...  and let's just take examples, 10 cents and 1 cent, the average is going to be 5.5 cents.  That might still not work.  So that doesn't guarantee that you're going to have a fit either.  So I hope that you appreciate the choices that we're proposing to you and the reason that we're proposing those choices.  I didn't hear any discussion about the other proposals in the amendment, so I'm going to assume that those wire understood as proposed and are not controversial or require additional discussion.  There is one point that I overlooked in the bill.  We are moving a deadline for county petitions to TERC for an adjustment of changes in classes of valuation.  We had it stated, in the original amendment to 306, that that had to be done by August 4th, we are moving that back to August 1st, after discussions with TERC.  The August 1st date would have allowed them, in practice, as a practical effect, only one day to hold hearings on the protests.  That's the other component of the amendment that I think is necessary to bring to your attention.  And, with that, Mr. President, I will conclude the closing and ask for support for the amendment to 306.


SENATOR COORDSEN:  Was that the motion to advance 306 to....  'The issue before the body is the adoption of the committee amendment to LB 306.  Those in favor please vote aye, those opposed nay.  Record, Mr. Clerk.


ASSISTANT CLERK:  30 ayes, 0 nays on the adoption of the Revenue Committee amendments, Mr. President.


SENATOR COORDSEN:  Revenue Committee amendment is adopted.  Anything further on the bill?


ASSISTANT CLERK:  I have nothing further on the bill.


SENATOR COORDSEN:  Senator Bruning.




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SENATOR BRUNING:  Mr. President, I move LB 306 to E & R for engrossing.


SENATOR COORDSEN:  You've heard the motion.  All in favor please say aye.  Opposed nay.  The bill is advanced.  Next item, Mr. Clerk.