The Unicameral convenes to begin the 90-day, 2019 legislative session Wednesday morning and Governor Pete Ricketts is previewing some of the issues he hopes to focus.
Ricketts told KLIN’s Coby Mach on Drive Time Lincoln one of his main priorities will once again be to reduce property taxes, or at least attempt it.
“Obviously it is a difficult issue,” says Ricketts, who acknowledged that every year he’s been governor, legislation he’s introduced addressing the issue has been blocked by a filibuster. “That highlights that you have to have a broad coalition to be able to get this passed.”
33 out of 49 senators are needed to get legislation to the governor’s desk.
He adds that he’s willing to listen to all senators with suggestions about how to address the issue but re-iterates he won’t raise taxes in one area to lower them in another.
2019 is also a budget year.
Ricketts says it will be important to set the state’s budget with regard to the state’s $95,000,000 shortfall.
“I’ll come back with my budget recommendations next week with regards to how we prioritize that spending,” says Ricketts. “Of course part of that will be fitting in Medicaid expansion.”
Ricketts says fitting Medicaid expansion into the budget will mean everything else that gets money from the state, including K-12 education and higher education, and possible tax relief incentives will have to share the dollars.
In addition to setting the budget and reducing property taxes, Ricketts says creating new scholarship programs for state colleges and revamping the state’s business incentive program will also be top priorities of his during the session.