LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts unveiled his budget adjustment recommendations and legislative initiatives for the 2020 legislative session during his annual State of the State address. In his address, he talked about the need to “keep Nebraska strong” in light of the state’s ongoing work to recover from the most widespread natural disaster in the state’s history.
Gov. Ricketts will host a State of the State Town Hall in Broken Bow on Thursday, January 16 from 12-1 p.m. at the Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce office (424 South 8th Avenue, Suite 4).
Here are the top 10 things you need to know about the Governor’s budget and legislative initiatives:
- Controls Spending: Not including the resources steered towards new property tax relief, the budget adjustments keep the rate of growth to 2.9 percent over two years. This is less than half the rate of budget growth before Governor Ricketts took office.
- No Tax Increases: The Governor proposes managing the budget using existing revenue and urged the Legislature to oppose tax hikes.
- Cuts Property Taxes: The budget delivers an additional $500 million in new property tax relief over the next three years. The Governor also recommends protecting the existing $275 million in property tax relief delivered annually through the Property Tax Credit Relief Fund.
- Disaster Relief: The Governor’s recommendation includes $50 million to address the state’s share of these projects and another $9.2 million to aid the counties most severely impacted by the disaster. He is also recommending an additional $3 million to maintain an adequate balance in the Governor’s Emergency Fund, so the state is prepared to address any future events.
- Veterans’ Tax Relief: This week, the Legislature voted 46-0 for LB 153, the Governor’s military retirement tax relief bill. The proposal would cut income taxes on military retirement benefits by 50 percent. The Governor’s budget adjustments fully fund this tax relief.
- School Funding: The Governor fully funds the state school aid formula with an additional $12.5 million in education aid. Each year of this budget, the formula is providing a record $1.1 billion in annual school aid.
- Scholarships for Students: The Governor is proposing a new Nebraska Career Scholarship Program to help our community colleges, state colleges, and the university system attract more students in targeted programs from engineering to IT. The program would fund 2,280 new scholarships.
- Public Safety: The Governor is recommending $8 million to attract and retain quality teammates in Corrections. This will support the new agreement recently reached with the Corrections Officer union.
- Business Expansion: The Governor’s recommendations include funding for LB 720, which would refine Nebraska’s business incentives. It is critical that incentives are dealt with this legislative session, so Nebraska can remain competitive nationally as we work to recruit and expand job opportunities.
- Cash Reserve: The Governor’s recommendation improves the State Cash Reserve Fund by $185 million to $507 million from the enacted 2019-2021 Biennial Budget estimate of $322 million.