Top 10 Things You Need to Know about Gov. Ricketts' "Nebraskans First" Budget & Legislative Initiatives
Taylor Gage, 402-471-1970
Eric Maher, 402-471-1974
LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts unveiled his budget recommendation and legislative initiatives for Fiscal Years 2019-2021 during his annual State of the State address. In his address, he characterized this budget as putting “Nebraskans first” because of the approach the recommendations takes to controlling spending and delivering property tax relief.
Here are the top 10 things you need to know about the Governor’s budget and legislative initiatives:
- Controls Spending: The budget keeps the rate of growth to 3.1 percent over two years, or about half of what it was before Governor Ricketts’ took office. A significant portion of this spending increase is attributable to Medicaid expansion and state aid to public schools. In the Governor’s budget, state agencies continue to control spending growth with an average two-year operations increase of just 2.3 percent.
- No Tax Increases: The Governor proposes balancing the budget using existing revenue and does not raise taxes.
- Cuts Property Taxes: The budget delivers an additional $51 million each year in property tax relief to all property owners. The Governor is also recommending the creation of a $275 million floor in law for the Property Tax Credit Relief Fund to give more certainty about future relief.
- Structural Property Tax Reform: The Governor is proposing to establish a three percent cap on property taxes levied by local governments. To deliver long-term, structural relief, it is important that we limit the growth of property taxes.
- Veterans’ Tax Relief: The Governor has proposed a 50 percent tax cut for all veterans receiving military retirement benefits. Five of our six surrounding states do not tax veterans’ retirement benefits. This proposal is a step forward to make Nebraska more tax competitive, and keep veterans in Nebraska.
- Public Safety: The budget recommends funding for two new high security housing units with an additional 384 prison beds at the Lincoln Correctional Center.
- Medicaid Expansion: The budget contains funding for the voter-approved Initiative 427, which expands Medicaid coverage.
- Maintains Pro-Life Measure: The budget includes the pro-life budget language approved by the Legislature last year. The language ensures that taxpayer dollars do not fund abortion services, including abortions, abortion counseling, or abortion referrals.
- School Funding: The budget provides new aid to K-12 public schools by fully funding the $103.8 million TEEOSA increase. This means the formula will provide a record $1.1 billion in annual school aid.
- Scholarships for Students: The Governor is proposing a new Nebraska Talent Scholarships program to help our community colleges, state colleges, and the university system attract more students in targeted programs from engineering to healthcare with over 2,100 new scholarships.
More information about the Governor’s budget can be found by clicking here.
The full text of the Governor’s State of the State address can be found by clicking here.