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Sen. Krist says Gov. Ricketts has not delivered on promise to lower property taxes

“Average homeowner is getting less than $25 in additional property tax relief this year”

LINCOLN, NE – During a speech to county officials from across the state today in Kearney, Sen. Bob Krist, candidate for Governor, said despite Gov. Ricketts claim to have lowered property taxes, they continue to skyrocket out of control. The average homeowner in Nebraska is getting less than $25 in additional property tax relief this year.

“Over the past 10 years, property taxes grew statewide by an average of 57 percent, while household income grew at 21 percent,” Krist said.  “There are counties in Nebraska where the average tax increase over the past ten years is as high as 147 percent, and individual homeowners and landowners have experienced even greater increases.”

“It’s clear that Gov. Ricketts has not solved the property tax crisis in Nebraska,” Krist said.

“The Governor touts that he has provided millions in property tax relief. But, most of what he takes credit for are policies that were in place before he took office. In fact, barely 1/3 of the property tax money the Governor is claiming credit for was enacted under his watch.”

“For what was enacted during his term, the average homeowner in Nebraska is getting less than $25 in additional property tax relief this year,” Krist said.

“Governor Ricketts pledged to fix the property tax issue but has failed to do so. Instead, he has focused his energies on trying to cut taxes on upper-income earners, corporations, and special interests. His latest proposal — rejected by the Unicameral — would have provided T.D. Ameritrade, the company founded by the Ricketts father, a $13 million tax cut while the typical homeowner would receive a tax credit of $25,” Krist said.  

“This is not the first attempt by the Governor to shift the burden of taxation onto the middle class. In previous years, plans offered by Governor Ricketts would have done more of the same. Dramatic cuts to corporate income taxes, slashed taxes for his wealthy friends, increased taxes on low-wage earners and next to nothing for the average property taxpayer,” Krist said.

“And, leaders from the Republican Party have also been critical of the Governor’s lack of leadership on property taxes,” he said.

Republican State Senator Steve Erdman from Bayard led opposition to the Governor’s proposal, describing is as a “joke” in the April 3 Lincoln Journal Star:

(it is) "a joke (and) an illusion," a proposal that would take a decade to fully implement. "This is too little and too late," Erdman argued. "This governor never has been and never will be for property tax relief," he said.

And yet another Republican State Senator, Sen. Mike Groene, from North Platte said this on April 9 to  KODY Radio in North Platte:

“They claim it’s about property tax but it’s a corporate income tax cut. He (Ricketts) wants corporate income tax cuts, (he) doesn’t understand how bad the property tax problem is.”

“If we want a little property tax cut, we've got to give him corporate income tax cuts. He’s saying property tax relief, but look behind the curtain. He wants corporate income tax cuts for his friends.”

“Out-of-control property taxes is a problem highlighted by the fact that the state, under Gov. Ricketts’ watch, has failed to meet their obligations to adequately fund government and services at the local level, including aid to cities and counties, and this has put undue pressure on local property taxes,” Krist said.

“As the state has cut back on their share of funding for public education in an attempt to balance their budget, the property tax has been used to make up the difference. Not long ago the state contributed 20 percent of income tax revenues to help fund education. Now that figure is less than 3 percent,” he said.

“My administration will take a different approach. We believe we need to restore the balance in how we pay for education by increasing state aid in exchange for reducing property taxes used to fund education.”

“We want to reform the tax system so it is fair to hard-working Nebraskans. Not behind closed doors, but in the open, where the citizens of Nebraska can be heard and ideas are measured against one standard: is this fair to the people of Nebraska?”

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