Nebraska Gov. Pillen delivers State of the State address

Governor hawks tax cuts, increased school funding in address to state Legislature
Gov. Jim Pillen delivered his first State of the State address today.
Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 9:53 AM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Gov. Jim Pillen delivered his first State of the State address Wednesday in the state Capitol, spelling out plans to drastically cut taxes while increasing funding to state schools.

Pillen reiterated his plans announced earlier this month to increase K-12 public education funding by more than $2 billion over the next six years while cutting income and property taxes.

His proposed two-year budget would hold annual growth to just 1.3%, increasing spending by $164.6 million next fiscal year over the current year, and keeping the budget nearly flat the following 2024-25 fiscal year, with a proposed $500,000 increase.

Nebraska’s annual budget is about $4.5 billion.

The governor also held a news conference directly after the address.

Response statements

“Gov. Pillen made it a point to say that Nebraskans want to be treated fairly and yet he is waging a war against the LGBTQ community, women, public schools and the environment. There is nothing fair about Pillen. He gave a US Senate seat to his largest donor. He wants to give public dollars to private schools. And, he continues to ignore eminent domain threats against rural Nebraskans. Gov. Pillen showed us today that he has no interest in tackling the big issues facing our state. Instead, Pillen is waging culture wars to further divide Nebraskans.”

Jane Kleeb, chairwoman, Nebraska Democratic Party

“Nebraska Farm Bureau supports the governor’s vision and his efforts to say ‘no’ to overspending and shrink state government. We continue to support the governor’s focus on giving money back to Nebraskans via historic property and income tax cuts. We also appreciate him recognizing that Nebraska’s valuation system of property for tax purposes is a concern and must be addressed.

Governor Pillen’s pledge to have the state take on more responsibility for funding our public schools is a step in the right direction. Our policy set by members line up with the vision the governor has to reduce the property and income tax burdens on Nebraskans. We endorsed Governor Pillen because of his promise to lower taxes and slow government spending and we applaud his efforts to make this happen.”

Mark McHargue, president, Farm Bureau

“The Governor’s budget proposal ignores the crisis that our state’s health and human services providers face as they care for Nebraskans. It ignores the financial realities of the increasing costs to provide care and ignores the lasting impact that the closure of essential services, due to financial burdens, will have on rural Nebraskans.

Health care and human services are at a level of crisis we haven’t seen in generations. Much like other industries, our health and human services workforce is depleted. The costs to provide services have been compounded by wage pressures and caring for an aging population requires increased and advanced care. Investments in our state’s system of care will benefit all Nebraskans and the communities they live in.

This budget jeopardizes the care that rural Nebraskans - especially our elderly Nebraskans and vulnerable families – have access to. We call on the legislature to step forward and ensure we do not continue to lose access to nursing home care, hospital care, primary health care, behavioral health care, dental services, child welfare providers, and care for developmentally disabled individuals as well as children in the child welfare system throughout Nebraska.”

Children and Families Coalition of Nebraska | LeadingAge Nebraska | Nebraska Alliance of Family and Child Services Providers | Nebraska Association of Behavioral Health Organizations | Nebraska Association of Service Providers | Nebraska Dental Association | Nebraska Health Care Association | Nebraska Hospital Association | Nebraska Medical Association | Nebraska Rural Health Association

”This morning the Governor shared his reflections on the state of the state and priorities for the 2023 legislative session. Governor Pillen spoke about the importance of focusing on a better life for all Nebraskans. This is an important goal as far too many Nebraskans are struggling with finding affordable housing, child care, food, and jobs that pay enough to make ends meet. We can’t build thriving communities or solve our workforce challenges without addressing these key needs. Common sense policies that invest in these core areas are one of the best ways to use the substantial resources the state has this year to build the good life for all Nebraskans.

As we emerge out of the pandemic, there is important work to be done this year to implement policies that would deliver direct and lasting economic support to hardworking Nebraskans and their families. Two pieces of legislation – one that ensures thousands of families can maintain or gain access to food through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and another that extends eligibility for subsidies to help parents afford child care – would provide such support and help us address our workforce challenges. And instead of another round of tax cuts as the Governor proposed, we should focus on adopting tax policies like the Child Tax Credit, a proven and powerful way to reduce child poverty.

We are discouraged to see legislation aimed at undercutting Initiative 433, a ballot initiative that will increase our state’s minimum wage to $15 by 2026, and adjusted annually thereafter to account for the cost of living. The will of the nearly 60% of voters who endorsed this measure in November should be upheld so that Nebraska workers are paid a fair wage. We hope Governor Pillen will stand with Nebraska voters and oppose any attempts to undermine the minimum wage.

For everyone to have access to the good life, it’s critical that all Nebraskans are able to continue to put food on the table, afford child care, access health care, and earn a fair wage. We look forward to working with Governor Pillen, the Legislature, and community members to advance common-sense policies to support Nebraskans and strengthen our communities across the state.”

Nebraska Appleseed

Watch the governor’s address & news conference

Gov. Jim Pillen delivered his first State of the State address to the Nebraska Legislature on Wednesday morning, Jan. 25, 2023.

6 News contributed to this story.