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Top 10 Things You Need to Know about Gov. Ricketts’ “Nebraska Way” Budget & Legislative Initiatives

Media Contacts:  

Taylor Gage, 402-471-1970

Justin Pinkerman, 402-471-1967

 

 

Media Release:

Top 10 Things You Need to Know about Gov. Ricketts’ “Nebraska Way” Budget & Legislative Initiatives

 

LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts unveiled his budget recommendations and legislative priorities for the 2021 legislative session during his annual State of the State address.  In his speech, Gov. Ricketts talked about the need for state leaders to work together “the Nebraska Way” to deliver property tax relief and help move the state forward as the coronavirus pandemic continues. 

 

Here are the top 10 things you need to know about the Governor’s budget and legislative initiatives:

 

  1. Controls State Spending: The Governor proposes controlling spending by limiting the State’s annual budget growth to 1.5 percent.  This is less than one-fourth of the yearly budget growth before Gov. Ricketts took office. 
  2. Controls Local Spending: The Governor is recommending legislative action to limit the growth of local government property taxes to 3 percent per year.  Property taxes have grown by 4.46 percent annually on average for the last 10 years for an overall increase of 54.65 percent.  New local spending constraints are critical to ensure the relief provided goes into people’s pockets and to maintain local control in future years. 
  3. Property Tax Relief: The Governor’s budget delivers $1.36 billion in property tax relief over the biennium.  This includes $550 million in direct property tax relief through the State’s Property Tax Credit Relief Fund, and over $596 million from the newly enacted LB 1107 refundable property tax credit.  Gov. Ricketts is also proposing roughly $214 million to provide for property tax payments under the current homestead exemption program.
  4. Veterans’ Tax Relief: Last year, the Legislature voted unanimously to exempt 50% of military retirement from state income taxation.  This year, the Unicameral will consider increasing this exemption to 100% to provide additional veterans’ tax relief.  The Governor’s budget anticipates this legislative proposal being enacted in 2021.
  5. School Funding: The Governor’s proposed budget fully funds the state school aid formula with an additional $42.7 million in state aid to K-12 schools over the next two years.  Each year of this budget, the formula is providing roughly $1.1 billion in aid to schools.
  6. Space Command: Nebraska is still working to bring the U.S. Space Command to the Heartland.  The Governor’s budget calls for the Legislature to invest $50 million in a public-private partnership to bring this important mission to Offutt Air Force Base.   
  7. Public Safety: The Governor is recommending an initial investment of $115 million to replace the decaying Nebraska State Penitentiary with a new, modern correctional facility.  This investment will also increase the operational capacity of Nebraska’s corrections system to meet forecasted needs.
  8. Healthcare Workforce Flexibility: The Governor is recommending legislation to allow licensed healthcare professionals from other states to work in Nebraska.  He issued an executive order in 2020 to allow this flexibility during the coronavirus pandemic.  The legislation Gov. Ricketts is proposing would make this change permanent to encourage more healthcare professionals to bring their skills to the Good Life.
  9. Creating Opportunities for Military Families: The Governor is asking the Legislature to remove barriers that prevent military spouses from taking jobs as teachers. 
  10. Broadband Connectivity: The Governor’s recommendations include $40 million over the next two years to expand broadband connectivity to 45,000 households.

 

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.

 

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