Government
1:01 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

State of the State: Gov. Heineman calls for tax cuts

Governor Dave Heineman says Nebraska can afford up to $500 million in tax cuts.

Heineman called for property and income tax cuts during his State of the State address Wednesday morning. The Governor says providing tax relief would benefit both families and the state’s economy.

"We can help Nebraska’s middle-class families, farmers, ranchers, and small business owners this session. Staying the course is not an option, unless you support lower family incomes and more families on food stamps. We need higher-paying jobs to reverse the decline in Nebraska’s median family income. We need higher-paying jobs to increase the state’s population, and growing jobs requires a more competitive tax environment."

Renee Fry, executive director of the Open Sky Policy Institute, says Nebraska’s income tax system is not higher than comparable states, as Governor Heineman claims.

"When we actually focus in on states that have similar economies to ours in the region, we find that our taxes are actually slightly on the low side. I mean, obviously, we should always strive to have our taxes as low as possible, but we need to recognize that those taxes pay for important services."

Fry says any cuts to state income tax should be made to the lowest tax rate, which would benefit the most families.

In his speech, Governor Heineman also called on the Legislature to reform the state’s “good time” law for violent offenders…and said he’ll oppose efforts to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.