News Guide: Ricketts pitches property tax ballot measure

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OMAHA, Nebraska (AP) – Voters in Nebraska may decide to restrict local government spending next year as part of Gov. Pete Ricketts’ property tax proposal he presented to lawmakers on Thursday.

Ricketts said he supported a constitutional amendment that would limit the growth of local government property taxes to 3% per year, and he warned that if lawmakers failed to act, voters could start a petition to do so. same. The governor’s measure would apply to public school districts, natural resource districts and all other local governments that levy property taxes.

“New local spending constraints are essential to ensure that the relief we provide goes into people’s pockets and to maintain local control for years to come,” Ricketts said in his annual State of the Address address. State.

Here are some other highlights of the governor’s plans:

WHAT DOES THE PROPERTY TAX PROPOSAL DO?

The ballot measure is a constitutional amendment that voters are expected to approve in 2022 if lawmakers agree to place it on the general election ballot.

This would prevent local property tax collection from growing by more than 3% per year, so if revenues are higher than expected, schools and other governments would have to reduce their tax rates until they achieve growth. by 3%. Bond measures would be excluded.

In a briefing with reporters, Ricketts said local governments would still be able to generate additional revenue by imposing other taxes, such as a local sales tax. He also recognized that reduced local income growth could lead to additional state funding for schools if their needs increase dramatically and if they cannot generate enough money on their own.

Ricketts is also calling on lawmakers to continue the state’s current property tax relief programs, for a total of $ 1.36 billion returned to homeowners over the next two years.

DO NOT GIVE UP BRINGING US THE COMMAND OF SPACE IN NEBRASKA

Ricketts said he is not yet abandoning his efforts to bring US Space Command operations to Offutt Air Force Base, even though the Trump administration has announced that it has chosen Alabama as its site.

Ricketts is still looking for $ 50 million from lawmakers for the state to use in an offer. He told reporters he hoped to persuade the new Biden administration that Nebraska was the best place.

A NEW PRISON

As expected, Ricketts urged lawmakers to approve spending $ 230 million over five years to build a new state prison that would house maximum security inmates. The jail would house approximately 1,512 inmates and replace the old Nebraska State Penitentiary, which would then be converted into housing space for minimum security inmates.

“The Nebraska State Penitentiary is decaying,” Ricketts said in his speech.

WIDE RURAL BAND

Ricketts also wants $ 40 million over the next two years to expand high-speed Internet service to about 30,000 homes that don’t have it. He said more than 80,000 households currently do not have broadband speeds considered adequate for modern use.

“The pandemic has revealed just how impossible working from home or remotely can be for those on the wrong side of the digital divide,” Ricketts said.

The money would go to grants to incentivize broadband developers to set up services in remote areas where this is not possible otherwise.

MILITARY RETIREMENT REMUNERATION

Military service members retiring in Nebraska would get full tax exemption on their retirement income under another governor’s proposal.

Lawmakers and Ricketts approved a partial exemption last year, largely out of fears that members of the Air Force …

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