“Clear Contrast Between Bob Krist and Pete Ricketts on Property Taxes”
GRAND ISLAND, NE – Leaders from two of Nebraska’s largest agriculture organizations, Farmers Union and Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska (ICON), announced today they are supporting Sen. Bob Krist over Gov. Pete Ricketts in the race to become Nebraska’s next governor.
John Hansen, President of the Nebraska Farmers Union, Nebraska’s second largest general farm organization with over 3,500 farm and ranch families said Pete Ricketts has consistently spoken about property tax relief, but his only proposals for taxes focused on corporate income tax cuts, not property tax relief.
“Governor Ricketts has had nearly four years to solve the most important issue to our members and agriculture interests across our state, Hansen said. “He has talked and talked and talked about the problem, but has failed to lead. Instead of giving property tax relief to the men and women who work the land and feed the world, Pete Ricketts has instead supported personal and business income tax cuts for his rich friends. It’s time for a change, and Bob Krist is the man to bring it,” Hansen said.
For the first time in its 13 year existence, the Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska have endorsed a candidate for office when the board voted to endorse Bob Krist for Governor of Nebraska.
“Governor Ricketts has ignored the needs of his most loyal supporters in rural Nebraska by continuing to actively oppose any discussion of meaningful property tax reform,” said former Republican State Senator Al Davis, ICON treasurer from Hyannis. “The Governor’s 2018 tax bill would have generated only $25 in property tax relief for the state’s homeowners, but $13 million dollars in income tax relief for him and his family,” Davis said.
“ICON’s actions reflect the board’s deep dissatisfaction with Governor Ricketts and his refusal to address meaningful property tax reform. Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers pay the nation’s highest property taxes (in excess of $22,000) on a per capita basis, outpacing second-place California where the per capita average is $13,000,” Davis said.
“Nebraska’s agricultural producers are at the breaking point,” said ICON board member, Chris Abbott. “If something isn’t done soon I think we’ll see many more individuals exiting the state for better agricultural opportunities elsewhere. I want my children to have the same opportunities I had to build a life in Nebraska,” Abbott continued. “I don’t think that will be possible if we reelect Ricketts for another four years,” Abbott said.
“We are supporting Bob Krist for governor because there are clear differences between him and Pete Ricketts and their approach to property taxes,” Hansen said. “ This difference is clear in the policies offered, this difference is clear by the endorsements by key ag groups today for Bob Krist.”
“As your next governor, I will work with the Legislature, agriculture, and other key groups to address property taxes by focusing on education,” Krist said. “For far too long we have not adequately funded education at the state level the way we should have and this is putting an incredible amount of pressure on property taxes.
“We need to make sure we have foundation aid components in place so that many of our rural school districts are getting the funding they need,” Krist said.
“Not that long ago, 20 percent of income taxes paid were coming back into the local school district. This past year, that number was less than 3 percent. This alone would provide well over $300 million in additional school funding that would reduce pressure on property taxes. We need to be willing to think outside the box, find new ways to balance our tax structure and reduce pressure on property taxes, and make sure our rainy day fund is adequate so we can have it when we need it for emergencies,” Krist said.
“Under Gov. Ricketts’ watch, the rainy day fund, the state’s cash reserve, has declined from more than $700 million to less than $300 million in four years. That is an irresponsible and reckless policy. We can do better,” Krist said.
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