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Budget shortfall unlikely to stop Nebraska push for tax cuts


found that Nebraska's most regulated industries are outpatient health care services, nursing homes and residential care facilities, and chemical manufacturers.


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December 03, 2017 06:55 AM UPDATED December 03, 2017 06:56 AM LINCOLN, Neb. Nebraska lawmakers are gearing up for a short but busy session next month that's likely to be marked by renewed efforts to cut taxes even amid projections that the state faces a giant budget shortfall. The $173 million shortfall forecast for the current two-year budget cycle will loom especially large for lawmakers who had to reduce funding for state services in this year's sessionWhen senators reconvene for a 60-day session on Jan3, they could face pressure to cut more. Despite the tight budget, Speaker of the Legislature Jim Scheer, of Norfolk, said he expects a new effort to cut property taxes, possibly by shifting the tax burden to some other revenue sourceBut senators who want to spend more or reduce state revenue will have to explain how they'll pay for their legislation, he said. "Everything we do to reduce part of the budget is going to impact people," Scheer said"I expect a substantial amount of conversation on how we're going to do that." (function() { var randomUrl = getRandomUrl('http://x.email.modbee.com/ats/url.aspx?cr=663&wu=217,http://x.email.modbee.com/ats/url.aspx?cr=663&wu=222,http://x.email.modbee.com/ats/url.aspx?cr=663&wu=226'); var eventMethod = window.addEventListener ? "addEventListener" : "attachEvent"; var eventer = window[eventMethod]; var messageEvent = eventMethod == "attachEvent" ? "onmessage" : "message"; $("", { "class" : "col-xs-12", "src" : randomUrl, "scrolling" : "no", "frameborder" : "no" }).appendTo("#newsletter-signUpWidget"); eventer(messageEvent, function(e) { if (randomUrl.indexOf(e.origin) != -1 ) { var key = e.message ? "message" : "data"; var data = JSON.parse(e[key]); switch(data.messageid) { case 100: var signupevent = new CustomEvent( 'signup', {"detail": data} ); window.dispatchEvent( signupevent ); break; case 200: $('#newsletter-signUpWidget iframe').css('height', data.iframe.height); break; } } }, false ); })(); Never miss a local story. Sign up today for unlimited digital access to our website, apps, the digital newspaper and more. SUBSCRIBE NOW Scheer said he doesn't think any plan to lower the state's income tax will succeed in the Legislature unless the cuts are only triggered when state revenue surpasses expectationsA plan championed by GovPete Ricketts earlier this year would have done so, but the measure hasn't gained enough support to pass. Critics say tax cuts are at least partially to blame for the state's recent financial problems at a time when lawmakers should be preparing for a population that's growing older and more dependent on government servicesThe state also needs to spend more on prison rehabilitation and mental health services, said SenPaul Schumacher of Columbus. Schumacher said lawmakers have deferred decades of necessary spending on prisons and mental health services so they could cut taxes. "At some point we're going to have to deal realistically with unrealistic expectations," Schumacher said"..There are all kinds of things that we've basically just pushed off into the future in hopes that we'd see a revenue turnaround that would magically fund them." Still, some leading conservative senators say they hope to overcome resistance to the package in the upcoming sessionBusiness groups argue that cutting the state's income tax rates will help businesses and the economy. "Getting some sort of tax cut package done is a top priority for many of us," said SenJohn Murante of Gretna. Murante said he plans to introduce legislation to reduce state regulations, drawing from his experience on a working group formed by RickettsRicketts created the group in June to review all regulations in agencies under his control. Ricketts formed the group at the same time a report by the Mercatus Center, a privately funded free market think tank at George Mason University with ties to Republican billionaire donor Charles Koch, found that Nebraska's most regulated industries are outpatient health care services, nursing homes and residential care facilities, and chemical manufacturers. !function(){var TOUT=window.TOUT=window.TOUT||{},utils={getCanonicalLinkHref:function(){for(var links=document.getElementsByTagName("link"),i=0;i-1}}}(); !function(){var TOUT=window.TOUT=window.TOUT||{};if(console&&console.log&&console.log("Tout SDK: "+ +new Date),!TOUT._sdkScriptTagParsedAt){TOUT._sdkScriptTagParsedAt=new Date,TOUT.EMBED_CODE_VERSION="1.2.0";var 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