Nebraska’s Governor says there’s a lot of groundwork to be laid on the subject of property tax relief ahead of next year’s 60-day legislative session, and he’s been discussing plans with state lawmakers following a positive state revenue forecast.
Pete Ricketts says he’s working to convince Revenue Committee members to abandon the expansion of sales taxes or elimination of exemptions, saying the results from earlier this year show it’s not the best direction to go. “I’ve really asked them to get off those kind of things, and just focus on what we’ve done, and what we’ve got with this increase in revenue, and really talk about how we can phase in or step-in these relief programs so they can fit within our budget,” says Ricketts. “At the end of the day, that’s really the only way you can have stable tax relief, and that’s by controlling your spending, and with increasing revenues being able to deliver that tax relief, that’s the opportunity we have right now”.
However, Ricketts says there are other issues that will likely impact the debate on property tax relief next session, one of which is the effort to pass the ImagiNE Nebraska business incentive bill.
He says such a measure is needed to keep Nebraska competitive with other states, however he believes it will be more difficult to pass a replacement to the Nebraska Advantage Act without some meaningful legislation on property tax reform. Several senators tied the issues together during debate on the legislative floor earlier this year.
One other issue Ricketts says could complicate the subject is the property tax petition drive currently being conducted by True Nebraska, which would mandate a 35% reduction in property taxes through an income tax credit for property owners. The Governor says he doesn’t think the measure is the panacea many believe it may be, however the fact it could make the 2020 ballot may bring together enough lawmakers to get the 33 votes needed to pass additional property tax relief.