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Governor Ricketts makes final push for tax package

Governor Pete Ricketts made a stop in Lexington Wednesday, making one last push for his tax plan before Senators debate it Friday. (NTV News/Ifesinachi Egbosimba)

Governor Pete Ricketts made a stop in Lexington Wednesday, making one last push for his tax plan before Senators debate it Friday.

Legislative bill 461 would change how farm land is valued for tax purposes, and proposes income tax cuts intended to help grow the economy.

Governor Ricketts’ plan has faced push-back from educators and farm leaders, who say it falls short of solving the problem. However, Friday the governor called his tax package the most significant piece of property tax legislation the state has seen in a long time.

"461 is a comprehensive bill that includes both property tax and income tax relief. If it had been in place on January 1st of this year, it would have meant $147 million in tax relief to farmers and ranchers if levees had stayed the same. That is significant. The numbers that people throw around that it's very light on property tax relief are just inaccurate. People are not looking at the full impact of this bill," said Governor Ricketts.

The Governor adding, under his tax plan, as Ag land valuations go down, the state will put more money into schools.

"Starts with over $30 million in the first year, and then by 2027 goes up to $45 million. So again, that's part of the way the school aid formula works. If this had been in place in January of this year, we would see 40 more school districts becoming equalized. Mostly rural school districts that would become equalized. So we would have gone from 71 districts getting equalization money, going to 111 districts," said Governor Ricketts.

The school aid formula is calculated based on the difference between "needs" and "resources" for school districts. Money distributed through a state equalization formula comes from state sales and income taxes, as well as general funds.

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