SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb.- Governor Pete Ricketts spoke to residents on Jan. 15 at the Western Nebraska Regional Airport where Ricketts gave an abridged version of his “State of the State” address.
One of the proposals Ricketts made to the legislature was flood recovery. Counties and tribal nations across the state submitted $400 million worth of projects to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“The way it works is the federal government will reimburse us for about 75 percent of that. The state has to come up with 12.5 percent and counties make up the other 12.5 percent,” Ricketts said, noting the proposal included an additional $9.2 million for the hardest hit counties.
Due to above forecasted revenue, Ricketts also recommended that $500 million over the next three years go to help with property tax relief. In addition, it was proposed that $9.2 million be allocated for direct property tax relief via Homestead Exemption.
The collapse of the irrigation canal was also mentioned. Rick Preston, manager of the Gering-Ft. Laramie Irrigation District, thanked Ricketts for “taking the lead on this monstrous debt that we’re facing and being aggressive in doing that.”
Preston said the state was in the process of reimbursing the district $3.8 million for temporary repairs that returned water to the canals – and producers.
Lynn Reuter, executive director of the Nebraska Dry Bean Commission is thrilled that Ricketts has been so supportive of agriculture.
“The industry has been and will continue probably to be very supportive of the governor’s efforts,” she said.
Kendall Busch, president of the Nebraska Sugar Growers Association, also thanked Ricketts for helping the association apply for Wildfire and Hurricane Disaster Indemnity Program (WHIP) funding.
Other proposals included tax relief for veterans and programs for education to help grow and keep jobs in the state of Nebraska.