About 70 people showed up to hear about Governor Pillens plan for property tax relief at Mid Plains Community College in Valentine this morning. The crowd was a cross section of people including numerous ranchers, some business owners, school representatives, city and county officials and people from the chamber, tourism and economic development. The Governor spent about 45 minutes presenting information about his tax plan, then began to take questions.

Governor Pillen did talk briefly about the special legislative session he has called for later this summer, but did not release any specific details. He talked about the unfortunate power of lobbying groups in the unicameral and encouraged everyone to contact each of the 49 state legislators everyday.

A big part of the property tax cut plan would have the state taking over funding of K through 12 schools. Pillen pointed out that state statute says if property valuations go up, levies are supposed to go down. Local boards have the authority to override those levies if they see fit. The Governor said “we can’t afford that kind of local control anymore” In the new plan, the state will set and collect the taxes from various sources and pay local entities what they need to operate.

There would still not be sales tax on food and some items could be taxed at only 1 or 2% while many items would be the full 5.5% state sales tax. This could include service type businesses that are now exempt. He has also proposed massive tax increases on tobacco products and vaping.