LINCOLN–(KFOR July 6)–The state’s second oldest and second largest farm organization has decided to throw support behind a petition drive effort to repeal a recently passed bill in the Nebraska Legislature that gives income tax credits to people and corporations who make donations to private school scholarships.

During their summer board meeting on Thursday, the Nebraska Farmers Union Board of Directors decided to support the effort to repeal LB 753, or the Opportunity Scholarships Act, saying it would also have an extremely negative effect on charitable giving.

Farmers Union president John Hansen told KFOR News the separation of church and state gets blurred when tax dollars are used to fund private and parochial schools and those institutions would not be subject to the same accountability and reporting requirements for public schools. He added the Union board looked at the situation with the passage of the bill and the issues that were in play.

The Farmers Union also said that private schools that would directly benefit from tax payer funded income tax credits are not required to serve all students and Nebraska ranks near the bottom of all states in the amount of income and sales taxes it uses to fund public education.

Petition signatures from at least 5% of the voters in 38 of Nebraska’s 93 counties are needed to put LB 753 on the November 2024 general election ballot.

The bill is set to take effect in January.