Gov. Pete Ricketts says time is running out and calls on state lawmakers to act on his property tax cut package.
Ricketts has a message for state lawmakers.
“Here’s the deal folks, we are running out of time,” Ricketts states during a news conference on another issue at the Capitol. “The legislature needs to work, they need to work now, okay? So, we cannot dilly-dally around any longer. The legislature has got to get property tax relief to the floor and get it voted on.”
Legislators begin Day 45 of the 60-day legislative session today. Tax cut packages remain stuck in the Revenue Committee.
Ricketts says he continues to work with lawmakers and outside groups to craft a package of property and income tax cuts that can attract the 33 votes needed to overcome an expected filibuster.
“To be able to come back with opportunities to be able to find the ability to get that bill out of committee and get 33 votes on the floor,” Ricketts says. “But, the legislature needs to act on this. They cannot delay any longer.”
Ricketts had proposed a $240 million mix of property and income tax cuts.
Revenue Committee chair, Sen. Jim Smith of Papillion, carries the governor’s proposal as Legislative Bill 947. As initially proposed, the bill 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.
The make-up of the bill could change as negotiations continue in an effort to move it from the Revenue Committee to the floor for debate.
It competes with a $1.1 billion proposal sponsored by Sen. Steve Erdman of Bayard that could go to the voters in November if it doesn’t pass the legislature. A petition drive is underway. It would give property owners a refundable income tax credit equal to half of the property taxes collected by their local school district.
Ricketts criticizes the proposal as a budget-buster which would cause the legislature to drastically cut state services or increase other taxes, or a combination, to make up for the lost revenue.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]