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Unicameral Information Office
Papillion Sen. Jim Smith Invites Students to Youth Legislature
High school students are invited to take on the role of state senators at the Unicameral Youth Legislature June 11-14. At the State Capitol, student senators will sponsor bills, conduct committee hearings, debate legislation and discover the unique process of the nation’s only unicameral.
The Unicameral Youth Legislature gives behind-the-scenes access to students who have an interest in public office, government, politics, law, public policy, debate or public speaking. Students will learn about the inner workings of the Legislature directly from senators and staff.
“An engaged and informed citizenry is the foundation of a government for and by the people,” Smith said. “It is very important for our youth – our future leaders – to have a genuine understanding of how their government works, how it impacts their lives and how they can influence its outcomes.”
Registrants are encouraged to apply for a Greg Adams Civic Scholarship award, which covers the full cost of admission. Applicants must submit a short essay. Other $100 scholarships are also available.
The Office of the Clerk of the Nebraska Legislature coordinates the Unicameral Youth Legislature. The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Extension 4-H Youth Development Office coordinates housing and recreational activities as part of the Big Red Summer Camps program.
To learn more about the program, go to www.NebraskaLegislature.gov/uyl or call (402) 471-2788. The deadline for registration is May 15.
Eighteen new senators helped kick off the 2017 legislative session, which convened for the 90-day cycle on January 4th. The beginning of the 105th Legislature’s two-year chapter not only saw a large number of freshman senators, it also ushered in a large number of changes to leadership positions. In fact, only three incumbent senators held on to their former chair positions. I was one of the incumbent senators who changed positions. For the past two-years, I was the chairman of the Legislature’s Transportation and Telecommunications Committee, on which I still remain a member. However, on the first day of the session, I was elected to serve as the chairman of the Revenue Committee. As such, I intend to concentrate my efforts on tax reform over the next couple of years.
Of the 674 bills and resolutions introduced, 87 have been referred to the Revenue Committee. One of those bills to be considered by the Revenue Committee is a bill I introduced on behalf of Governor Pete Ricketts – LB 337. This measure seeks to bring income tax relief and takes a fiscally responsible approach by phasing in a reduction of the top income bracket over an eight-year period beginning in 2020. The current top bracket of 6.84 percent will eventually be reduced to 5.99 percent, but only if our revenues grow sufficiently to ensure education and critical state programs are adequately funded. Any scheduled decrease will be deferred if the state’s projected revenue growth is less than 3.5 percent. Our current top tax rate of 6.84% – applied to a single tax payer who makes as little as $29,831 per year – is one of the highest rates among our bordering states (only Iowa’s is higher). LB 337 will make our state more competitive and attractive to new businesses and residents, allowing us to grow our tax base and our economy.
While LB 337 focuses on income taxes, several other bills have been introduced to address property taxes and sales taxes as well. As the Revenue Committee chairman, I will pay close attention to all the proposals introduced and I intend to work closely with my colleagues to bring real, comprehensive tax relief to all Nebraskans.
Thank you for visiting my website. It is an honor to represent the people of the 14th legislative district in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature.
You’ll find my contact information on the right side of this page, as well as a list of the bills I’ve introduced this session and the committees on which I serve. Please feel free to contact me and my staff about proposed legislation or any other issues you would like to address.
Sen. Jim Smith
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