GRAND ISLAND – Governor Pete Ricketts began his State of the State Flyover at the Central Nebraska Regional Airport in Grand Island Wednesday. He started by saying that his administration has four priorities for this year.
The four main priorities are property tax relief, flood relief, veterans tax relief, and continuing growth of the state. He said that, in his budget, with the increase in revenues he proposed $500 million dollars in property tax relief over the next three years.
He said when it comes to the ballot initiative, it’s well intentioned but it’s misguided.
That ballot initiative would have a 1.4 or 1.5 billion dollar impact on our state’s budget and the easiest way for our legislature to solve that is to raise other taxes. It will have the unintended consequence of just adding to the tax burdens of the people of Nebraska, not reducing them. So I think that proposal is well intentioned. A refundable tax credit is an idea I’ve proposed in the past. But the way they’ve set it about is not going to be sustainable for the state. And will have the effect of just raising the overall tax burden on the people of Nebraska.
When it comes to flood relief he says the federal government will help but everyone in the state has to pull together to rebuild. 84 counties and five tribal nations have submitted over $400 million dollars in projects to FEMA.
The Federal Government will cover %75 of that and the counties have to come up with %12.5 of that and the state has to cover the other %12.5. They have put aside $50 million, just about %12.5 of the 400 million, from the state to cover their part of flood relief. He is also proposing another $9.2 million to the counties that were most severely impacted by that flooding. It’s for about a dozen counties that are smaller and rural and that can’t cover the damage they’ve received.
Ricketts is also working with Senator Tom Brewer to provide a %50 tax credit on military retiree benefits to help retain veterans in Nebraska. Governor Ricketts will be in Hastings on Friday for a town hall in which the public is invited to attend. It will be at 10 in the morning at the Lark in downtown Hastings.