Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen promises tax relief, more school funding in State of the State

LINCOLN. Neb. (KLKN) — Gov. Jim Pillen said Wednesday in his first State of the State speech that two of the top priorities for Nebraska are education and tax cuts.  

“We all agree: We are taxed way too much in Nebraska,” Pillen said. “Our tax policy chases our kids out, chases our parents out of the state.”  

The governor seeks to lock down state spending and create a new fund for schools. That is why his proposed budget gives some state agencies less money than they wanted. 

“We just simply said no to items that were requested within state agencies, and we worked harder in trying to understand them,” Pillen said. 

Pillen’s proposals also call for lowering the top income tax rate by 2027.

He also addressed income taxes on Social Security payments. 

“I’m also asking the Legislature to exempt Social Security income from state taxes by next year,” Pillen said. 

The governor also wants to shift community colleges to state funding, rather than a local property tax. 

“I’m also recommending that the state assume the responsibility for funding our community colleges across the state, which would immediately cut property taxes by nearly $300 million,” Pillen said

SEE ALSO: Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen, state senators promote ‘historic’ tax relief bills

The governor was criticized for reducing the funding boost for the University of Nebraska.  

“I’m also disappointed that the governor provided a lack of support for our institutions of higher education,” Sen. Danielle Conrad of Lincoln said. “Every dollar that the state doesn’t send to the university or to our state colleges means more pressure on tuition.” 

Conrad said she supports Pillen’s plans to invest in education as well as exempt Social Security income from taxes.

But she said there are some concerns about other proposals in the budget, like lowering the top tax rate.

“I’m concerned about their physical sustainability, and I’m concerned that they’re directed as huge tax giveaways to millionaires and billionaires,” Conrad said.

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