Governor: ‘It’s time to tighten our belt’

GRAND ISLAND, Neb.— Despite a $900 million budget hole,  Governor Pete Ricketts is still looking to cut taxes. He’s also looking at a variety of budget cuts.

The governor announced his plans during today’s State of the State address in Lincoln, a few hours later at the Grand Island airport he made it clear tax hikes are off the table.

“We are in times of scarcity, it’s time to tighten our belt just like families do in difficult times,” said Ricketts.

As for those tax cuts, they  don’t come quickly.

Ricketts proposal to reduce property taxes for farmers and ranchers, would start in 2019. Instead of taxing farmland according to its market value, it would be valued according to its income potential.

The governor also proposed reducing the top individual income tax rate, starting in 2020. His eight year plan would eventually lower the top rate from nearly seven percent to six percent.

Ricketts said that under his budget plan the state reserve fund will still be more than $500 million by July, 2019.