Gov. Pete Ricketts says he doesn’t believe a lack of action on property taxes this legislative session necessarily gives a boost to the property tax relief petition drive.
Ricketts cautions against too much speculation until it becomes certain the issue has landed on the November ballot.
The petition drive seeks to place what essentially is LB 829 on the ballot in November for voters to decide. The measure proposes providing refundable income tax credits for half the property taxes paid which go toward public education. It would in effect be a 30% cut to property taxes, totaling more than $1.1 billion.
Ricketts says that large a chunk of state revenue would greatly disrupt state governmental services.
“That’s 25% of our budget,” Ricketts tells reporters. “That would be hugely disruptive either to services or with the potential for massive tax increases.”
Petitions are circulating throughout the state in an effort to gather enough signatures to land the proposal on the November ballot.
Ricketts opposes the effort, but the governor says he cannot get involved in the campaign on the issue. Ricketts says his office prohibits him from officially engaging in any campaign which might develop.
“Well, certainly when I am asked, I will give my opinion on it,” Ricketts says. “There are some restrictions as governor on what I can do with regard to ballot initiatives. So, when I’m asked, I’m going to give my opinion, but otherwise, we’ll let the other groups advocate either for or against the petition.”