LINCOLN — Gov. Pete Ricketts vowed Monday to continue to push for approval of his income and property tax reduction package, assuring a radio audience that "we're not going to give up" on the proposal that was trapped by a legislative filibuster earlier this year.
"We're going to keep working on it," the governor told a listener who called into his monthly statewide radio program to urge Ricketts to center on substantial local property tax reduction.
"It's the No. 1 thing people are talking to me about," Ricketts responded, and he said he's determined to attempt to build a coalition of state senators that's large enough to overcome a continuing filibuster by "working on additional ideas for next year."
The tax cut package (LB461) championed by the governor and Sen. Jim Smith of Papillion, chairman of the Legislature's Revenue Committee, fell six senators short of the 33 votes required to free the proposal from a legislative filibuster last spring.
The bill remains on the legislative docket for when senators reconvene in January.
During his call-in radio show, Ricketts rejected a suggestion that the state consider casino gambling as a revenue producer that could take pressure off other forms of taxation.
"I oppose expanded gambling," Ricketts told a listener who expressed some annoyance with the governor and addressed him as "Pete" several times.
Ricketts also rejected a listener's suggestion that he consider an increase in state tobacco taxes, partly as a way to reduce smoking and protect the health of young Nebraskans.
"I'm not going to be in favor of raising any taxes," the governor said. "We're already taxed too much in our state."
Ricketts noted that his proposed tax reduction package would ease the property tax load on agriculture by moving from a market sales assessment formula to valuation of ag land on an assessment of income potential.
The bill also includes phased-in personal and corporate income tax cuts.