Gov. Pete Ricketts touts tax relief, economic growth

Dan Fleuette

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts promised to try again to deliver tax relief he says Nebraskans are demanding.

"Well it's part of our property tax cuts and opportunity act we have development dollars available to make sure we continue to have the right trained skilled workforce here in Nebraska".

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts takes time to greet Terrytown mayor Kent Greenwalt (left), Scotts Bluff County Commissioner chair Mark Masterton and Scottsbluff mayor Randy Meninger Wednesday before addressing a crowd at West Nebraska Regional Airport.

"It's true that we're losing a lot of young people", Morfeld said, "but the governor didn't mention that many of them choose to leave because of things like a lack of transportation options and civil rights issues".

Individuals and businesses from across the USA are taking note, Ricketts said. Ricketts plan includes across the board cuts of 2 percent and 4 percent over then next two years.

The revised gubernatorial plan, which will be sponsored by Revenue Committee Chairman Jim Smith of Papillion, was unveiled Wednesday in the governor's State of the State address to the Legislature.

Ricketts attributed the growth to worldwide trade partnerships, growing investments in Nebraska's workforce and transformations to state government in the form of slowed growth and greater efficiency to citizens - what he calls a "more customer-focused" approach.

"Folks, this matters because when companies move here and invest, they create job opportunities for people", he said.

When state revenues reach certain benchmarks, triggers are in place to increase the amount of credits.

A trip to Canada in August helped snag a small plant for Agri-Plastics in Sidney that has created 20 jobs, Ricketts said, while the Denmark-based Novozymes launched a new investment in Blair after state leaders visited.

Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks of Lincoln also expressed some concern regarding the governor's intentions for tax relief and the budget.

"Eric told me Kawasaki is great for Lincoln", Ricketts said. "Besides the good-paying jobs and investment, Kawasaki supports local charities and uses local vendors". "That is heartbreaking", Ricketts said. "I'm excited to report that over half the American beef in China now comes from Nebraska", Ricketts said. He added Nebraska is seeing investment from companies such as Cargill, Facebook, Hudl and Novomynes.

Ricketts added that over the next 10 years, the state expects the bill to provide more than $4 billion in property tax relief to ag producers and home owners.

- Cuts income taxes, redistributes property tax credits. "In October, the Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board met and reduced our revenue forecast by about $223 million - $100 million this year and $123 million the next year". Paid for by eliminating existing property tax credit and personal property tax exemption programs.

The governor's proposal would reduce state spending for the two-year budget period to $8.81 billion, down from the $8.86 billion figure approved last year.

"We'll be seeing a lot of debating", Ebke said, "but it will be worth it".

"Nebraska is a pro-life state, and the state's budget should reflect those values", Ricketts said.

JOB CREATOR REFORM: Converts existing tax credits going to businesses to reduce the state's business tax rates from 7.81 percent to 6.69 percent to make Nebraska more competitive. Ricketts praised lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle for their efforts a year ago to bring him "many great things".

Nebraska's property and income tax rates are nationally uncompetitive.

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