Gov. Pete Ricketts tells Husker Harvest Days he wants to help agriculture in the upcoming legislative session, but must overcome the obstacles that have stopped past proposals.
Ricketts notes the legislature has provided some tax relief to property owners the past two sessions and he wants to propose more tax relief for agriculture in the next session.
“So, we’re working with various groups, talking to different people, looking for new ideas within my administration about some ideas we want to come back and talk about in the next legislative session,” Ricketts says. “As governor, I want to do tax relief in every legislative session.”
Ricketts has been unable to get direct tax cuts through the Unicameral. A bill that would have lowered the percentage at which agricultural land is assessed for property tax purposes failed to get out of committee. A package that would have lowered property taxes and restricted governmental revenue increases failed.
For the past two years, the legislature has added money to the state Property Tax Relief Fund. Last year, the increased funding included $20 million in property tax relief targeted directly to agricultural land.
Ricketts says international trade holds the brightest promise for improve farm income. Ricketts supports the Trans Pacific Partnership, arguing it would boost sagging commodity prices. Better known as TPP, the trade deal is an agreement between the United States and 11 other countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
The Obama Administration backs the proposal now before Congress for approval or rejection.
Ricketts says TPP would greatly benefit Nebraska agriculture.
“It would help us for example take the tariffs, for example, on our beef going to Japan down from 38 ½% down to 9%,” according to Ricketts. “That will help us be more competitive with local products. It will help offset some of the effects of the strong dollar and, again, help us expand our trade.”
Ken Anderson, Brownfield Ag News, contributed to this report.