Gov. Pete Ricketts told legislators the state of the state is strong, but in his annual address the governor said more needs to be done to grow Nebraska.
“We are in a strong position, but we also have our challenges,” according to Ricketts, “But these challenges pose an opportunity for us to work together to respond and grow Nebraska.”
Ricketts, in the annual State of the State address, stated lower commodity prices have hurt farm income, making property taxes even more of a burden on agriculture.
“Senators, I look forward to working with you to bring about tax relief to our taxpayers,” Ricketts said. “We must prioritize property tax relief. It is my number one priority this session.”
Ricketts backs proposals to limit the growth of local governments in order to provide property tax relief.
Ricketts began his speech by highlighting heroic Nebraskans and stating that the people of the state reflect the best in America.
Though providing a number of statistics and rankings to bolster the image of Nebraska as a state with an exceptionally strong economy, Ricketts noted economic growth in Nebraska appears stuck in the middle of the pack among the states.
“And folks, there is nothing competitive about being in the middle of the pack,” Ricketts said. “We need to grow Nebraska’s economy, create more and better paying jobs, keep our kids and grandkids here. Attract people from around the country to come and make Nebraska their home.”
Ricketts urged lawmakers to cut taxes, invest in transportation, and improve governmental services as a way to move the state forward.
The legislature and the governor disagreed on some major issues last session, the first for Gov. Ricketts. The Unicameral overrode three gubernatorial vetoes to repeal the death penalty, authorize the children of illegal immigrants to get driver’s licenses, and raise the gas tax.
Ricketts acknowledged their difference even as he indicated he is eager to get started this year.
“Our family here in the state Capitol will have its moments this session, no doubt, but I know when the ice thaws, the snow melts, the sports fans, including Speaker Hadley, return again to baseball we will have accomplished much in this session for the people we represent.”
AUDIO: Gov. Pete Ricketts delivers the State of the State address to the Unicameral. [35 min.]