Criticism aimed at Ricketts' plans for state

Erika Holt
January 12, 2018

Entering the final year of his first term as governor, Ricketts said state's leaders have been able to put aside their differences to work for the good of all Nebraskans. "If the governor wants to grow the state, cutting the university , which is one of the number one ways we recruit and retain young Nebraskans, isn't the way to go", Morfeld said.

For residential homeowners, the plan targets relief at middle and low income earners by capping the amount of property tax relief at $230 per residential homestead.

Ricketts delivered a speech on the state of the state during a stop at the Central Nebraska Regional Airport Wednesday afternoon as part of his annual State of the State fly-around.

But the state faces several challenges if the economy is going to continue to grow.

In October, the forecasting board projected a shortfall of about $200 million for the budget year ending June 30, 2019.

Responding to concerns about the cost of providing the estimated $1.1 billion in property tax relief contained in his proposal, Erdman said: "My job is to bring this legislation forward, not to say how to pay for it".

"Gov. Ricketts and his allies are attacking individual liberties and putting their personal beliefs over women's health", she said. "That's what my budget recommendation does".

His decrease calls for across-the-board spending cuts with the caveat they won't touch the state aid to K-12 schools, investments into the Department of Corrections, which include almost $6 million to build 100 new prison beds, or aid to the state's population of developmentally disabled individuals.

Those spending cuts won't reduce the state's investment in K-12 education, which he recommended maintain its current funding under the state aid formula, the Department of Corrections, which will see a almost $6 million investment to build 100 new prison beds, or aid to the state's population of developmentally disabled individuals.

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"Right now, 90 percent of individual income taxes paid by Nebraskans are at that top rate, and 90 percent of Nebraska businesses pay at the top individual rate", he said. However, he still hears firsthand stories from ag producers forced to sell their businesses and move to another state because of high property taxes. John Murante of Gretna planned to introduce a bill to further help the state eliminate unnecessary red tape.

Sen. Burke Harr of Omaha, a member of the Revenue Committee, said he was pleased to see Ricketts appear to be "much more conciliatory and less partisan" in his State of the State address to the Legislature.

The problem that needs to be addressed now is a property tax load that has become unbearable, he said. Cuts agency spending by 2 percent in last half of this fiscal year, 4 percent in the fiscal year starting July 1.

The second part would make the state more competitive when it comes to income taxes.

He outlined a proposal that would focus more property tax benefits on in-state residents by excluding out-of-state landowners who don't file income tax returns but still receive property tax credits. Both are very uncompetitive compared with neighboring states.

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"By prioritizing federal funds to clinics that do not provide abortion services, Nebraska is sending the message that we are a state that respects unborn life", Lt. Gov. Mike Foley also said.

"It's our hope that common ground to deliver that relief can be found during the 2018 legislative session".

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