(Lincoln) -- Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen's first State of the State address includes a call for massive tax cuts.
Speaking before the Nebraska Legislature Wednesday morning, Pillen called for an additional $2.4 billion in property tax cuts, for a total of $7.1 billion through fiscal year 2027. He also recommends investing an additional $390 million in the Property Tax Relief Fund.
"We all agree--we are taxed way too much," said Pillen. "Our tax policy chases our kids and grandparents out of the state. We can't grow Nebraska that way."
Pillen also recommends $1.5 billion in additional income tax cuts for individuals, families, businesses and Social Security recipients. To accomplish the tax cuts, Pillen proposes a budget restricting the growth of state spending to annual average of just 1.3% over the biennium. The governor also calls for constraints on local school spending by recommending a 3% growth cap on districts' spending, which can only be overidden by 75% of the local school board members or 60% of the voters.
"As the state shoulders a greater portion of educating our kids," he said, "the burden on property taxpayers must be reduced through careful spending control and constraint by our school districts."
He also recommends a $50 million investment in "opportunity scholarship tax credits" for students "whose needs are best met outside of public education." Pillen's budget proposal also calls for $100 million to leverage an additional $400 million in federal funds to improve the state's infrastructure, and the creation of the Nebraska Broadband Office.
"We have to get broadband across Nebraska completed," said Pillen. "It will be the sole focus on the Nebraska Broadband Office--and I don't have any patience about it."
On the subject of law enforcement, Pillen calls for a an $18.6 million increase in the Nebraska State Patrol's funding, and for finalizing the last phase of funding to replace the Nebraska State Penitentiary--which lawmakers previously approved.