Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Gov. Ricketts Unveils New Property, Income Tax Plan

Gov. Ricketts Unveils New Property, Income Tax Plan

Gov. Pete Ricketts unveiled his revised budget plan and new property and income tax proposals during his State of the State address Wednesday.

In his annual State of the State speech, he touted the proposals as doing "what's right for hard-working Nebraskans" and for the state's future. Current resources are being utilized to provide the pay increase, and no additional funding will be required to complete this initiative due to the cost reduction in replacing contracted CNAs with permanent state teammates. Then, he got down to the nitty-gritty issues expected to dominate this legislative session. The first was the budget, which has a $173 million projected shortfall. When we started out the fiscal year, we had $34 million less in revenue over last year.

But opponents of Governor have other ways of comparing Nebraska to the surrounding states, Senator Matt Hasen of Lincoln said after the State of the State address, "I know people focus on issues related to kind of tax brackets but people also focus on you know quality of life and other opportunities you know personally he referenced a young millennial and as a young millennial myself taxes brackets isn't something I hear my generation talk about so there's many different avenues for people to look at comparing states".

The cuts would be on top of the budget actions taken in 2017 to close a almost $1 billion shortfall.

"There's been a significant increase in children entering the state's welfare system and they need our protection", Pansing Brooks said.

Ricketts is recommending an additional $35 million to child welfare and public assistance this year and next year.

"Sen. (Mike) Groene will be (introducing) some new legislation exactly toward what we were talking about here today", Olson said. Kate Bolz agreed that is a serious problem.

The governor said he will be forming a new child welfare task force to dig into the reasons for the increase. "Without sustainability and experience in our child welfare staff, we can't make sure that those kids are in safe, stable, successful placements", Bolz said. "They want tax relief", Ricketts said.

But it was on taxes that Ricketts made possibly his most far-reaching proposals. "It's an urgent need".

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"If companies want to expand or move here, we want to help them have the right skilled workforce to grow our economy", Ricketts said. He said Nebraska won the governor's cup for the most economic development projects per capita of any state in the country.

To do that, Ricketts proposed redirecting an existing credit that goes to all property owners. The new credit would only apply to residents who own homes or agricultural land.

Nebraska's property and income taxes are regionally uncompetitive.

The property tax plan would also cap residential tax credits at $230, regardless of a property's value.

The plan presented to lawmakers, the Property Tax Cuts and Opportunity Act, would use money from the state's current property tax credit program.

Property tax relief will now be delivered as a credit on state taxes, to ensure Nebraska property taxpayers receive relief.

Briese said he would use income, sales, and excise tax dollars to restore some state aid to schools that's been cut in recent years, as well as capping how much property tax can be used. He will introduce the plan in the next few days. A press release from the governor's office indicated that healthcare providers that also perform abortions are receiving federal funding passed through the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. Those funds are used to provide birth control largely to low income women by organizations including Planned Parenthood, which would be denied funding under the proposal.

The third and final part of the plan, injecting $10 million into workforce development programs offered by the state over the next two years, would also be a boon to businesses looking to locate in the state, he said. Repeal supporters mustered only 30 votes, leaving their effort dead for the year.

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