In the first debate between Gov. Pete Ricketts and Sen. Bob Krist for the Gubernatorial race at the Nebraska State Fair on Thursday, both identified property tax relief as the number one issue in the race. Sen. Krist(D) said he would support more from sales and income taxes to balance the burden of property taxes. He says education funding has not been sufficiently funded by the state. Ricketts(R) said he has worked over his tenure to increase money to the state’s property tax relief fund and has worked on property taxes every year he has been in office. He said significant property tax relief has been stalled in the Legislature.
Sen. Krist said he supports Medicaid expansion(which will also be on the November General Election ballot). He believes he would find the state portion of funding for it and the costs to the state would not be as much as has been touted by opponents. Gov. Ricketts said the federal government needs to take on “real” healthcare reform and believes the actual cost for the state portion of it is much higher than projected.
Sen. Krist, a death penalty opponent, says he would carry out the “laws of the land” if elected Governor. He says he is pro-life from conception to natural death and voted to abolish the death penalty in the state and override the Governor’s veto of the bill.
The two candidates offered some differences in the area of state Corrections as well. Gov. Ricketts said asked for additional investment in the corrections system but, noted there was still more work to do. Sen. Krist said he would go back to the original “stakeholder’s group” which first met weekly, then monthly on improving the state Corrections Department. He said the committee was abolished by Ricketts and that there has been more riots and death in the prison system during the Ricketts administration.
Both candidates were given the opportunity to ask one question of each other. Sen. Krist noted Gov. Ricketts’ mantra to run the state “like a business” . He noted that the sale of Cabela’s to Bass Pro Shops resulted in the losss of jobs in Sidney and asked Ricketts about his knowledge of the deal. Ricketts responded that he didn’t have anything to do with the sale and that it was a transaction between private companies.
Ricketts’ question to Sen. Krist related to his Krist’s record on property tax legislation during his 10 years in the Legislature. Krist said Ricketts’ recent proposal would have “gutted” the state’s “rainy day fund”.