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Disappointment at the Legislature

Staff WriterMay 28, 2019

The 106 Legislature First Session is coming to a close six days early. I do not agree with the decision as we have work that needs to be done. This past week has been very disappointing with respect to the lack of action and conduct on the floor by fellow Senators with regard to the budget, incentives and property taxes.

I, along with 11 other senators, voted no on the $9.3B biennial budget which passed with little debate allowed. I do not agree with the Governor’s three percent or $126M increase in spending or the $63M of spending that should have been debated on the floor instead of being placed directly in the budget. We must fund areas required by law and of special needs but we also need to reduce our overall spending.

Tax incentives for multi-million dollar companies allowing them to forego millions of dollars in taxes was moved on the floor by unfortunate practices of Senators. Speaker Scheer, Senators Friesen and Briese among others supported these incentives rather than standing firm and requiring property tax relief to be passed. I, along with seven other Senators voted no on the incentives as property tax relief needs to be first and foremost. Business incentives are important, however, with no caps and only minimal incentives for small businesses the cost of the new program is significant and only benefits multi-million dollar corporations. The current incentive program will potentially cost nearly $1B in uncollected taxes from these corporations in the coming years, yet we cannot find funding for property tax relief.

We failed yet again on property tax relief even though we had a bill on select file. This bill did not have the support of our governor, State Chamber of Commerce and 23 senators both rural and urban. I voted for this bill and worked to move this legislation forward as well as other bills that would have provided relief. It is frustrating that senators, the governor and the State Chamber of Commerce refuse to come together on real and meaningful property tax relief. We cannot continue to increase our budget and not collect hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes from companies through incentive programs and turn our backs on farmers, ranchers and home owners.

“The Nebraska Disaster Resource Guide” is a comprehensive guide of resources for those who were affected by the March floods as well as other disasters is now available. This guide contains the numbers and websites of various state and federal government agencies and the specific recovery services they provide as well as several community partners and charities that can assist in the recovery process. Lastly, there is a helpful section of information that may prevent you from falling for predatory business practices or scams that tend to appear following disasters. Visit the guide at https://nema.nebraska.gov/operations/press-releases-media-information. You may also receive copies of the guide by calling (402) 471-7421.

I appreciate hearing from constituents on issues affecting District 23 and encourage you to contact my office on legislation at 402-471-2719 or bbostelman@leg.ne.gov.

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