Ricketts, others hail major tax cuts as historic and transformativeApril 14, 2022
Gov. Pete Ricketts on Wednesday celebrated enactment of the largest tax cuts in Nebraska history with an elaborate ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda, where he signed the bill into law with applauding state senators and business and agricultural leaders at his side.
Ricketts described the moment as historic and Speaker Mike Hilgers of Lincoln said the tax reduction package provides an opportunity to "have a transformative impact" on the near-term future of the state.
The $900 million tax cut bill (LB873) provides targeted personal and corporate income tax reduction by reducing the top income tax rates for individuals and corporations, generates additional property tax relief through new state income tax credits based on community college property taxes paid and will gradually eliminate state income taxation of Social Security benefits.The stage was set for substantial tax relief when "Nebraska came through the (coronavirus) pandemic very strong," Ricketts said, and subsequent economic growth helped fuel more than a billion dollars in increased revenue over the biennium that exceeds state budget requirements. "We need to turn that money back to the people of Nebraska," the governor said.
Ricketts singled out members of the Legislature's Revenue Committee who fashioned the package, with special attention focused on Sen. Lou Ann Linehan of Elkhorn, the committee chairwoman, who led the way in constructing the final proposal though sometimes intense negotiations.
The governor praised Linehan for "her great work."
Hilgers said Linehan "will go down (in Nebraska history) as one of the great legislators."
In turn, Linehan said: "I want to thank everyone for not giving up."
Missing from the ceremony was one of the chief architects of the compromise plan, Sen. Tom Briese of Albion, who was attending the funeral of his nephew, Darren Krull, chief of the Elwood volunteer fire department, who died in a head-on highway crash while responding to a fire in central Nebraska.
Dozens of senators and major supporters of the proposal attended the ceremony and received signed copies of the bill from the governor.
Bryan Slone of Omaha, president of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce, said the state's performance during the pandemic and the Legislature's fiscal discipline "led us to where we are today."
"I believe we were the Number One state in terms of coming out of the pandemic," he said.
Mark McHargue of Central City, president of the Nebraska Farm Bureau, praised successful enactment of the tax package as "a team effort."