The Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board is revising revenue projections upwards. It predicts General Fund tax receipts will be up $17 million this fiscal year and $13 million next year.
Governor Pete Ricketts says the new scenario supports his plan to provide property tax relief.
“We’re working together with Senator Gloor and Senator Sullivan on two bills to be able to provide that,” Ricketts tells Nebraska Radio Network. “Obviously, we need to get those bills out of committee and get them to the floor to get them to my desk.”
But Senator Heath Mello says the revenue forecast has more to do with the work of the Appropriations Committee that he chairs, than with property tax relief.
“I know his priorities are in the Revenue, the Education committees with his priority bills, but they’re not really – I don’t see them really connected at all to what the Forecast Board did on Friday,” Mello tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Mello says the increased revenue might help with a $14.5 million funding shortfall for K-12 education.
There also are important projects in pending legislation that need funding, according to Mello.
“Regarding road infrastructure, dealing with overcrowded prisons as well as looking to try to address the Offutt levee issue that’s been raised,” Mello says, “while still maintaining a very strong cash reserve.”
Ricketts says the money should help property owners.
“We need to continue to hold the line on spending to keep it around 3.5% and make sure that if there’s anything in excess of that, that that goes back to the taxpayers in the form of tax relief,” says Ricketts.