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Ricketts touts revenue, virus response in legislative speech

Pete Ricketts
Posted at 11:42 AM, Jul 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-24 19:59:28-04

OMAHA, Neb. (AP/KMTV) — Gov. Pete Ricketts has touted Nebraska's pandemic response and rosier-than-expected revenue outlook in his address to the Legislature.

He pushed for lawmakers to adopt his signature property tax relief and tax incentives packages within the remaining 13 days of the session. He's also pushing for a bill to help veterans and another one that would fund growth for UNMC's campus.

“It will allow UNMC to respond to future pandemics and other natural and man made disasters," says Ricketts.

The Republican governor on Friday made a rare second address within the same session, which was suspended in March over fears of spreading the coronavirus. The session resumed Monday.

“It really gets back to the extraordinary times we live in. We haven’t had a pandemic here in our country in over a century and I don’t know the last time that the legislature has had a session interrupted," says Ricketts.

On the topic of mask mandates, Ricketts has been opposed to them. He worries a mask mandate would criminalize the behavior. Lincoln recently put in a mask mandate, prompting Ricketts to say he is looking into legal actions against the city. Douglas County Health Director Dr. Adi Pour says Douglas County could soon follow with its own mask mandate.

The governor’s address came a day after the Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board predicted that while the state’s tax revenue will likely dip below earlier projections, the budget picture won’t be as bad as previously expected.