Gov. Pete Ricketts says there remains time in the legislative session to pass his proposed tax cut package, but the legislature needs to feel a sense of urgency.
Ricketts tells those attending the Governor’s Ag Conference in Kearney talks continue on his tax cut proposal in an effort to get the votes needed to pass it this session.
“And, while there has been a lot of talks back and forth on this property tax bill, we cannot afford to wait much longer,” Ricketts tells those attending the conference. “We have to get a bill done. That means we have to come to consensus soon on this bill.”
Days are running out on this legislative session. This is day 40 of the short, 60-day session.
Ricketts proposes a $240 million mix of property and income tax cuts. He realizes few days remain in the session.
“We have still work to do on that bill,” according to Ricketts. “We’ve got people at the table, but time is running out. We need to make sure we get that bill delivered.”
Ricketts backs Legislative Bill 947, sponsored by Revenue Committee chair, Sen. Jim Smith of Papillion. LB 947 would convert the Property Tax Credit Relief Fund to provide refundable income tax credits for agricultural property owners as well as homeowners. Tax credits would begin at 12% with a cap of $280 for homeowners. The credits would increase by 2% every other year until they reached 30% in 2031. The residential caps would rise $50 with each increase.
The plan calls for $200 million in property tax relief for agricultural and residential property as well as $40 million in cuts to individual and corporate income taxes.
It has yet to emerge from the Revenue Committee to the floor for debate.
Its main competition is LB 829, sponsored by Sen. Steve Erdman of Bayard, which would cut property taxes by $1.1 billion, a 30% cut in property taxes statewide. It would give property owners a refundable income tax credit equal to half of the property taxes collected by their local school district. Erdman has said if the legislature doesn’t adopt the measure, it will go to the ballot in November to be decided by the voters. A petition drive is underway.
Ricketts insists his proposal fits within the state budget, while the Erdman proposal, he says, would bust the budget.
Even if LB 947 gets to the floor for debate it faces as certain filibuster and will need 33 votes to overcome the filibuster and go to a vote. A similar proposal backed by the governor failed to overcome a filibuster last year.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]