August 23, 2014

Gov. Heineman continues to push for deeper tax cuts (AUDIO)

Gov. Dave Heineman

Gov. Dave Heineman

Gov. Dave Heineman keeps pushing, though he seems to be running into increasing resistance to significant tax cuts this legislative session.

Heineman says the revised $8 billion state budget advanced by lawmakers has too much new spending and too little tax relief.

“The taxpayers of this state want property tax relief and so I think the senators ought to start listening,” Heineman says.

Heineman contends the $136 million in new spending contained in the state budget is out of balance with the $25 million in tax relief contained in the proposal.

State lawmakers failed by five votes to provide an additional $20 million for the property tax relief fund. Heineman says the legislature should reconsider the vote.

Only minor tax relief is advancing in the Unicameral.

A bill to index the state income tax to inflation is likely to pass this year. Greater tax breaks for those receiving Social Security benefits as well as military pensions could also get a favorable vote.

It appears a bill that would cut income taxes isn’t going anywhere and a proposal to drop the valuation of farmland for tax purposes from 75% of market value to 65% hasn’t been able to make it out of committee and onto the floor for debate.

No cuts to the state rainy day fund have been moving in the legislature as Heineman suggested. The fund totals about $680 million and is projected to reach nearly $700 Million in 2015.

Still, Heineman says he will continue to press for deeper tax cuts.

“No governor is ever going to get exactly the tax relief package he wants. What I’m focused on is the overall dollar amount and continuing to lower taxes,” Heineman says. “They probably will never go as far as I want, but I hope they would.”

AUDIO:  Brent Martin reports [:45]