Gov. Pete Ricketts says he will concentrate on three areas during next year’s legislative session.
Ricketts has given a talk to the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce.
Ricketts says agriculture brings jobs to rural Nebraska, but manufacturing can as well. Ricketts says his administration has pitched potential manufacturing sites throughout the state.
“We can’t be a healthy state if we’re just growing Lincoln and Omaha,’ Ricketts tells the chamber. “We have to grow the entire state. Manufacturing allows us to do that.”
Ricketts says his recent trade mission to Japan concentrated on both increasing agricultural exports to Japan as well as encouraging more Japanese investment in Nebraska.
As for the legislative session which begins in January, Ricketts says he will concentrate on promoting legislation to cut taxes, cut regulations, and invest in the state’s workforce.
Modifications were made to LB 461 during the previous legislative session, but it still fell six votes short of the total needed to end a filibuster mounted against it and go to a vote in the Unicameral.
LB 461 proposed cutting the top state individual and corporate tax rate gradually, at about one-tenth of a percent at a time until it dropped from the current rate of 6.84% to 5.99%. The measure would have changed the valuation method used to asses agricultural land for property tax purposes from the current market-based method to one based on the income potential of the land.
Ricketts says he will work with key lawmakers to try again next year.
“Budget and taxes are tied together,” Ricketts tells the group. “Those will be the two things that we have to focus on; is controlling our spending and figuring out what is the combination of ideas we can put together in a tax package to overcome that filibuster.”
Ricketts wants to cut regulations as well and streamline the state regulatory process. He says those steps will make Nebraska a more business-friendly state.
Ricketts says his administration is always looking at ways to improve efficiency.
“Most people in government think the only way you can bring costs down is by cutting services,” according to Ricketts. “But, you all know, that in a competitive environment, if you went to your customers and said, ‘Hey, I’m going to cut your price, but I’m also cutting your service,’ they’re going to look to somebody else. That’s not the way the private sector works and it’s not the way government has to work either.”
Jane Monnich, KLIN, contributed to this story.