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tv   Nebraska State of the State  CSPAN  January 17, 2018 9:35am-10:00am EST

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we are greater than the sum of our parts. together the condition of our state is strong, and together we can pass on to our children an iowa even greater than the one we inherited. may god bless you and continue to bless the great state of iowa. god bless you. [applaus [applause] >> in his state of the state address, nebraska governor pete ricketts discussed tax reform, job creating and the state budget. governor ricketts is seeking election to a second term this year. this is half an hour.
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members of the legislature, chairman, distinguished guests, fellow nebraskaens, and of course, our first lady, hope she's on this side. suzanne. [applause] she always gets better applause than i do. before begin, i want to recognize your newest member, senator theresa thibedeau from omaha, a small business owner and involved in early childhood education and her background and experience will make a great contribution to this body. welcome, i look forward to working with you. [applause] >> to all of our senators congratulations on the commencement of the 105th
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nebraska legislature. working together is in our dna and the hallmark of nebraska's nonpartisan unicalmeral legislature. working together is what helped build this great state. we know this from our history. this year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of world war i. during world war i nebraskans came together to raise private dollars to form a field hospital to take care of wounded soldiers returning from the front. many gravely injured were treated at the little nebraska hospital. that spirit is alive and well today when hurricanes harvey and irma battered our coast
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from florida and texas and came to the aid of families and communities in need. nebraska national guard recommends not only served their fellow citizens, but also on the front line on the war on terror. last month i visited 54 of our national guard soldiers at guantanamo bay, cuba, who are helping to detain enemy combatan combatants. 25 years ago, new enlistees did not expect to be deployed overseas. today the men and women who join the nebraska national guard not only expect to be deploy deployed, but want to take the fight to the enemy. i am incredibly proud of them and we salute them for their service and their sacrifice. [applause]
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>> nebraskans have a long tradition of helping each other out in good times and bad. we built that story here, the state capitol building, as a source of inspiration. in the spirit of cooperation, we come together each year to accomplish the priorities that matter most to nebraskans. our work is growing our state and keeping nebraska the best place to live, work and raise a family. it's not always easy, but it is important. working together last year, we accomplished many great things. under speaker sheer's leadership, you passed a bill that protects the abilities of
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0 your teachers to exercise religious freedom. with the chairman's help we worked on and enacted an unprecedented two budgets, so that the state could live within its means. sara watermeyer delivered to my desk the first pro-life legislation in several years with a choose life license plate. other senators worked with us to streamline state government and merge state agencies. senators reapy, ergman, lowe, lindstrom, led successful efforts to reform occupational licenses. sara walls successfully championed a bill protecting injured first responders from losing their health care insurance. senator hillgers, senator guist
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for environmental reviews. senator keane helped end the practice of allowing people to quit their jobs and turn around and claim unemployment insurance. nebraska was one of the last states to make this change. and senator wisher, had a common sense bill which i signed, which allows counties to protect the personal information of law enforcement officers. those accomplishments were not always easy, but through leadership and hard work, working together, we got the job done. this is my fourth state of the state address and our fourth year of working together on the priorities nebraskans care about and i am happy to report
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that the state of the state is strong and growing. [applaus [applause] >> last year nebraska won the governor's cup for the most economic development projects per capita of any state in the country. in fact, nebraska had more qualified projects than north dakota, south dakota, and kansas combined. forbes ranks nebraska the fourth best state overall for business. we moved up seven spots in chief executive magazine's ranking for the best in business. folks, this matters because when companies move here and invest, they create job opportunities for our people. this past year we've continued to achieve record levels of employment with over 1 million
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nonfarm jobs, and the lowest unemployment rate in our state since 1999 at 2.7% and our population hit a record $1.9 the 2 million people for the first time ever. these achievements are no coincidence. senators in this chamber, and the teammates in my administration, work each and every day to grow nebraska. working with you, we will continue to bring new opportunities to nebraska. international partnerships are helping us to create these great paying job opportunities right here in our state. for example, we went to canada in august to help recruit agri plastics which has created 20 new jobs in sidney. a new investment from novazymes
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followed our visit to denmark. japan is nebraska's largest direct foreign investor and there's no better example of that man kawasaki which just opened their first u.s. aerospace division right here in lincoln. our trade mission in 2015 supported this expanded investment. when we foster more investment by multinational businesses, we help nebraskans like eric jones. eric is a long-time production worker for kawasaki and a great teammate who gets paid a good wage to support his wife and three kids. when kawasaki announced the aerospace expansion, he volunteered and he earned a spot as a supervisor. the company flew him to japan for three months of training. eric told me kawasaki is great
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for lincoln. besides the good paying jobs and investments, kawasaki also supports local charities like the nebraska 150. and uses local vendors. eric and his wife miranda are here with us today. let's give them a warm welcome and thanks. [applaus [applause] >> i should have mentioned eric's mom deb is here as well and is proud of him though she missed him a lot when he was in japan. in nebraska we export over $8 billion of goods annually. our work in china over the last three years has helped open the door for nebraska for the first time in 14 years. being from a nebraska company
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was the first to arrive in china last summer and i'm excited to report over half the american beef in china right now comes from nebraska. [applaus [applause] >> over the past 12 months we have also seen argentina reopen their market to american pork. bulgaria signed new soy bean deals with nebraska. vietnam opened their doors to disstillage screens and japan is set to open their marketplace to american ethanol. these successes wouldn't be be po without the great international teams in the department of agriculture and the department of economic development. our teams are working together to grow market access and develop new partnerships. they are with us here today. please help me thank them for
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their great work. [applaus [applause] >> we also work hard to recruit u.s. bases. the silicon prairie has continued to thrive. in 2016 my team and i traveled to menlo park, california to sell facebook on nebraska. last year, facebook broke ground on a 970,000 square foot campus and pavilion which will create hundreds of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in investment. costco selected freemont as the home for their first ever chicken processing operation. a team effort closed that deal with the help of state agencies, business leaders, and local elected officials. other major investments have
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come from companies such as huddle, beck and dickenson, evonics and our ethanol producers. these are just a few of the over 200 projects that state, regional and local and economic developers worked on in our effort to grow nebraska last year. these investments in nebraska help eric jones, his family, and so many other families to have the opportunity to work hard and invest in their communities. we can recruit businesses because we have a great story to tell here in nebraska. throughout the year, our team works each and every day to make government run at the speed of business, by making it more effective, more efficient, and more customer focused.
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our center of operation is working with state agencies to eliminate waste and speed up service. with this philosophy, we are turning around environmental permits in a single day, reducing the backlog for tax credit applications and more. we are also delivering licenses faster so we can connect medical professionals to great job opportunities here in our state. for example, we reduced the nurse licensing processing time from 96 days in november of 2015 to an average of just 30 days in tease of 2017 ch. changes like this are helping nebraska put people to work more quickly. taylor shannon recently moved to bellview with her husband who is in the air force. she applied for a nurse license in december and received it in
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just 15 days. [applaus [applause] >> this is just one of the many great examples that we have of how we're improving our services. running an operationally excellent organization is a team effort. please help me recognize the center of operational excellence team for all of their great work. they're with us here today. [applaus [applause] >> to complement the work that we're doing in the areas of process improvement. my agencies are also cutting red tape. in july, we launch a review aimed at cutting unnecessary regulation to streamline state
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government. in november, state agencies came back with their initial recommendation. today senator is introducing legislation at my request, which will help eliminate unnecessary red tape. thank you, senator morante. [applause] >> all of this great work that we've done together sets the tone that nebraska is open for business, from manufacturing to technology, to agriculture. but we also have challenges. the first of which is working on the budget. this is our top priority. in october the nebraska economic forecasting advisory board reduced the revenue forecast. while our state's economy once again had the wind at its back, our revenues continued to fall
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short of the board's expectations. we've been preparing for this. we reduced our state work force by 500, or about 4%. we've eliminated 1500 open positions in preparation for budget cuts, we reduced agency allotments by about 2% over the last two quarters of the year. last year, working together, we balanced the budget without raising taxes. this year -- [applaus [applause] >> this year, we need to do the same again. [applaus [applause] >> i am proposing a across the board in this fiscal year and 4% next. consistent with our work, i
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have designated priorities for funding in the budget like k-12 education, corrections and services to help the developmentally disabled. i'm also asking you to make new targeted investments. we have seen a significant increase in the number of children coming to the state's child welfare system. annually, we're up about 9%, or about 485 kids. folks, that's heartbreaking. in this budget, i am recommending an additional 35 million dollars for child welfare and public assistance for this year and next. [applaus [applause] >> we must take care of our kids. dhhs reports that through the first seven months of 2017, one
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out of every three children who were removed from their home were moved because meth amphetamines was a factor. we have to get to the bottom of this disturbing trend and all the other contributing factors and that's why i'll be forming a new child welfare task force to determine the route causes. we must also continue to invest in nebraska's department of corrections. i'm recommending expanding number of correctional officers, as well as investing or reinvesting 6 million dollars in funds that were unspent and investing those back into our prisons. this will help us expand our capacity. additionally, thanks to actions taken by congress, my budget recommends new steps to protect
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unborn life by ensuring that title 10-- wait until i get to the finish of it. assuring that federal title 10 dollars are not used to fund abortions. nebraska is a pro-life state and our budget should reflect our values. [applause] i look forward to working with senators, chairman and appropriations committee on balancing the budget. our next challenge has to do with taxes. cutting and reforming taxes is key to growing nebraska. over the years, together, we have done the hard work needed to hold the line on taxes. but nebraskans need and expect more. if we are going to remain competitive and gro he into the future, we must continue our
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efforts, no matter how hard. the tax foundation ranks nebraska's property taxes as the 11th highest in the nation, which is the worst around our surrounding states. while we have provided over 840 million dollars in property tax relief over four years, we've all heard the stories about how high property taxes are hurting nebraska. this fall a former came up to me at one of my events and let me know that his high property taxes had driven him to sell his farm, leave nebraska and move to missouri. that's terrible. it's stories like this that inspired me to continue making property tax relief a top priority. [applaus [applause]
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>> it's an urgent need. we must help our farmers and ranchers with crushing property tax bills. we must help all nebraskans keep all of their hard-earned money and attract more people to come to our state. our neighboring states are making themselves more competitive. the only surrounding state with a higher income tax than ours is iowa and right now, governor tim reynolds and their legislature is working to lower their taxes. missouri just lowered their tax rates this month. my team has been working tirelessly with you and with a variety of groups throughout the state, this summer and fall, and we have to show our taxpayers that we get the message. they want tax relief. [applaus
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[applause] >> that's why today, senator smith is introducing the nebraska tax cuts and opportunity act. this legislation will serve as a framework for delivering tax relief this session. our proposal has three major components, first, it restructures existing property tax credits as a new refundable credit on state taxes, which ensures that nebraskans not advocacy land owners receive the credit. it also provides for additional relief in future years when our revenue is growing. over the next ten years we expect this would provide over $4 billion in property tax relief for ag producers and home owners. and, it focuses the relief on
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the average nebraska home owners. second, in today's mobile economy, young people graduating from our colleges, skilled workers, and even long-time residents can move to lower tax states. we have the jobs and the great communities. let's also work towards an income tax system that's just as welcoming. [applaus [applause] >> we'll leave this nebraska state of the state address to go live this morning as the u.s. senate is about to gavel in to resume debate on what's called fisa reauthorization. the bill continues the nsa's foreign surveillance program for another six years with some changes. the house passed the measure last thursday and the senate could vote tomorrow to send the bill to the president. and now, to live coverage of the u.s. senate here on c-span2.

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