As the Unicameral convenes to begin a new session, Gov. Pete Ricketts is focusing on an old issue: property taxes.
The long, 90-day legislative session began this morning at the state Capitol.
Ricketts says one of his main priorities will once again be to reduce property taxes.
“Obviously it is a difficult issue,” Ricketts tells Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN that every year he’s been governor, legislation he’s introduced addressing the issue has been blocked by a filibuster. “That highlights that you have to have a broad coalition to be able to get this passed.”
Thirty-three out of 49 senators are needed to break a filibuster and go to a vote on an issue.
Ricketts says he’s willing to listen to all senators with suggestions about how to address the issue but re-iterates he won’t raise taxes in one area to lower them in another.
The 2019 session, being the long session, is also a budget year.
Ricketts says it will be important to set the state’s budget with regard to the state’s $95,000,000 shortfall.
“I’ll come back with my budget recommendations next week with regards to how we prioritize that spending,” says Ricketts. “Of course part of that will be fitting in Medicaid expansion.”
Ricketts says fitting Medicaid expansion into the budget will mean everything else that gets money from the state, including K-12 education and higher education, and possible tax relief incentives will have to share the dollars.
In addition to setting the budget and reducing property taxes, Ricketts says creating new scholarship programs for state colleges and revamping the state’s business incentive program will also be top priorities of his during the session.