Wrapping up the biennial budget

Thursday, May 23, 2019

This past week, we’ve been working on the budget which is very contentious as I expected it to be. Normally budgets pass with a simple majority and do not generate as much discussion as the one this year. Specifically, there were concerns with one provision of the mainline budget bill. The length of debate and discussion about that provision caused us to take a cloture vote, which failed. When the bill was brought back up again, the controversial provision was voted on and was allowed to remain in the bill. LB294 then passed the second round of debate and did appear on the agenda for Final Reading on Tuesday, May 21st.

Another significant topic is LB720, commonly referred to as the ImagiNE Act. Briefly, the ImagiNE Act is an incentive program to attract out of state businesses to Nebraska and retain businesses in our state. If you’d like more technical information, search LB720 on https://nebraskalegislature.gov/ or contact my office. The idea of incentives is not new - those who support it believe it makes us competitive with other states in attracting businesses to Nebraska. The current incentive package is called the Nebraska Advantage Act, which is set to expire next year, which replaced another previous incentive bill commonly known as LB775.

This year, there has been extensive debate on LB720. Being a proponent of free markets and a conservative, I support creating an environment where businesses can thrive. That means lowering property tax rates so businesses can keep and invest more of their income to grow and hire more employees.

We discussed the medical marijauna bill for three hours last week. The introducers lacked votes to break the filibuster, so the bill will not come back this session. I believe that is what they wanted; the introducers of LB 110 want to get medical marijuna on the ballot in 2020. The fact that the Legislature did not pass the bill will help their campaign. As a word of caution to all, there are going to be several petitions circulated throughout the next two summers to put issues on the 2020 ballot. Please make sure you know what you are signing. Most petition circulators are typically paid for your signature - make them explain the petition to you in detail and do not give up your signature without an explanation.

Lastly, this past weekend Josie and I had the pleasure of attending the Nebraska State Track Meet in Omaha. We enjoyed seeing athletes from each school district in Legislative District 44. There are truly so many exceptional young people in southwestern Nebraska, we should all be proud of them. Also, I want to congratulate all of the seniors who graduated from high school this year. The diversity of our young people is amazing, and it is fun to hear their future plans and dreams. I am inspired by the quality of our young men and women and am confident that the future of our state and nation is in good hands.

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