NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE
The official site of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Sen. Lydia Brasch

Sen. Lydia Brasch

District 16

Press Release

March 4th, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Brett Waite,

Legislative Aide to Senator Brasch

Office: (402) 471-2728

E-Mail: bwaite@leg.ne.gov

 

State Treasurer’s 2016 Unclaimed Property Report Published

State Senator Lydia Brasch encourages constituents of District 16 to review State Treasurer Don Stenberg’s 2016 Unclaimed Property Report. Many individuals from District 16 have been pleasantly surprised to discover they indeed had unclaimed property held in trust by the State.

The State Treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Division is a repository for money and other personal assets considered lost or abandoned. Unclaimed property includes certificates of deposits, checking and savings accounts, commissions, contents of safe deposit boxes, death benefits, dividends, gift certificates, insurance payments, money orders, paid-up life insurance, refunds, stocks, uncashed checks, and unpaid wages. The unclaimed property may be a small dollar amount or could be in the hundreds of dollars or more from several combined smaller amounts found.

The Unclaimed Property Report is scheduled to be published in 16 Nebraska newspapers, as required by statute, throughout March and early April. The State Treasurer’s Office holds more than $170 million in property for 350,000 Nebraskans. In 2015, the State Treasurer returned more than $11.8 million to more than 15,000 owners and plans to return even more in 2016.

March 6 – Omaha World Herald and Scottsbluff Star-Herald

March 19 – Norfolk Daily News, Beatrice Daily Sun, Fremont Tribune, York News-Times, and   Columbus Telegram

March 20 – Lincoln Journal Star

April 1 – Holdrege Citizen, McCook Gazette, and Sydney Sun-Telegraph

April 2 – Alliance Times-Herald, Hastings Tribune, and Kearney Hub

April 3 – Grand Island Independent and North Platte Telegraph

If you would like to obtain a copy of the entire Unclaimed Property Report, you may contact the State Treasurer’s Office at (402) 471-2455, or check for unclaimed property at any time online at https://treasurer.nebraska.gov/.

 

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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For more information:
Brett Waite, Legislative Aide
Office of Senator Lydia Brasch, District 16
(402) 471-2728
bwaite@leg.ne.gov

Senator Lydia Brasch Invites You to Attend: DISTRICT 16 TOWN HALL MEETINGS – Monday, November 2

Senator Lydia Brasch will host town hall meetings November 2 in Blair and Tekamah to listen to constituents’ views considering legislation to introduce, support, or oppose prior to session commencing. Officials from the Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR) will also be present to provide updates on area roads projects.

Blair

9:00am to 10:30am at the Blair City Council Chamber, 218 South 16th St.

Tekamah

1:00pm to 2:30pm at the Tekamah Public Library, 204 South 13th St.

Questions about event details can be directed to Brett at 402-471-2728 or bwaite@leg.ne.gov.

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Contact: Joe Neuhaus                                                                FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Office: 402-471-2728
Email: jneuhaus@leg.ne.gov

Senator Lydia Brasch Invites You to Attend:
DISTRICT 16 TOWN HALL MEETINGS – THURSDAY, DECEMBER 4

Senator Lydia Brasch will host town hall meetings December 4 in Blair, Tekamah, and West Point to listen to constituents’ views in considering legislation to introduce, support or oppose prior to session commencing. Officials from the Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR) will also be present to provide updates on roads projects.

Blair

8:00am to 9:30am City Council Chamber, 218 S 16th St Coffee will be provided. NDOR Representatives scheduled to attend:

  • Roads District 2 Engineer Tim Weander
  • Hwy 133 Project Manager Rich Zelensky
  • District Construction Engineer Marvin Lech
  • Communications Director Mary Jo Oie
  • Government Affairs Director Andy Cunningham

Tekamah

12:00pm to 1:30pm Burt County Courthouse, Basement Meeting Room, 111 N 13th St Sandwiches and drinks will be provided. NDOR Representatives scheduled to attend:

  • Roads District 3 Engineer Kevin Domogalla
  • Communications Director Mary Jo Oie
  • Government Affairs Director Andy Cunningham

West Point

4:30pm to 6:00pm City Council Chamber, 444 S Main St Refreshments will be provided. NDOR Representatives scheduled to attend:

  • Roads District 3 Engineer Kevin Domogalla
  • Communications Director Mary Jo Oie
  • Government Affairs Director Andy Cunningham

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Since our April adjournment of the Second Session of the 104th Legislature, I have attended over 95 community events and meetings in Legislative District 16.  During this interim, we also assisted many constituents affected by catastrophic weather damages such as wind, hail, and tornadoes.  The constituents of District 16 continue to prove their resiliency when dealing with Mother Nature.

During my interactions with constituents I am almost always asked about legislation.  The most frequent questions for our district consistently address taxes, primarily ag land and income tax relief, ag land tax relief being the top concern.  Discussions often transition into other state agency-related questions, such as four lane highways, road repair and shoulder work, internet connectivity gaps, energy, game and parks, law enforcement, insurance, and much more than can be discussed in a newspaper column. Therefore, my focus here will be about tax policy and concerns of expanding federal jurisdiction and oversight and our efforts to help address them.

In 2013, I introduced LB145 and designated it as my priority bill in 2014 following the Tax Modernization Committee’s statewide hearings during the 2013 interim.  Because Nebraska was challenged four years ago with meeting fiscal obligations of a billion dollar deficit, the Tax Modernization Committee was formed during the 2013 session with the task of reforming Nebraska’s tax code.  Studies developed by the Committee supported the fact that farmers and ranchers are disproportionately taxed in our district and statewide.  My legislative bill would have decreased the assessed valuation of agricultural and horticultural land by ten percent, from 75 percent to 65 percent of its actual value.  This bill was also previously introduced by former State Senators Deb Fischer and Lavon Heidemann during their time in the legislature.  Unfortunately, LB145 was not advanced from the Revenue Committee.  Various other tax relief bills introduced by Revenue Committee members advanced only to stall on General File due to our short 60-day session calendar.

Over the last four years, the Unicameral enacted legislation to reduce spending and increase revenue.  The Nebraska Constitution requires the Governor to introduce a balanced budget, and state statutes require the Legislature to enact a balanced budget.  As a result of diligent lawmaking and responsible fiscal policies, our Net General Fund revenue for fiscal year 2013-2014 is $4.117 billion, including a cash reserve of $707.5 million, also known as a “rainy day” fund.  This puts our cash reserve right at the recommended 16.7 percent of annual revenues, which is very important if our state should experience a future revenue shortfall due to another economic downturn.  A healthy cash reserve, if it continues, provides options and opportunities moving forward for re-introducing additional tax relief measures.

In 2014, we provided a good legislative start to tax relief in a very short time window with Legislative Bills 986 and 987.  Together, they are expected to give Nebraskans more than $500 million in tax relief over the next five years.  In addition, LB1087 provides a 100 percent property tax exemption for veterans who are receiving compensation for a 100 percent disability, have an honorable or general discharge, and do not qualify for the existing total homestead exemption.  LB96 exempts from state sales tax the sale of repairs and replacement parts for agricultural machinery or equipment. Although we passed these valuable tax reform bills, property tax relief continues to be a priority, as some tax valuations rose more than 30 percent last year.  In fact, the average increase statewide for ag land valuations was 29.1 percent, which heavily contributed to a 12.45 percent increase overall.  Because we have seen these taxes continue to rise in the past decade, we will continue to explore various options to address further increases.

It is also important to remember our public schools are funded primarily by property taxes levied individually by Nebraska’s 93 counties.  One of the obligations we must meet as lawmakers is Nebraska’s constitutional mandate to provide a free public education for all persons between the ages of five and twenty one.  We must carefully balance the financial needs of our schools and our taxpayers.  To manage this important task the Education Committee will hold public meetings beginning in October to gather information to develop a statewide vision for education in Nebraska.  The public hearings will help determine how to properly fund the public school system.  I am hopeful that we can find a solution to help fund education, yet I hope such funding will not place the burden so heavily on the backs of one group, our farmers and livestock producers.

Another item of great concern stems from federal regulation overreach affecting our district and state.  First is the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Waters of the United States” proposed rule change; second is the Middle Decatur Bend Shallow Water Habitat construction project in Burt County; and third, the Nebraska Department of Roads has been mandated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to re-route a once approved plan to repair bridges due to newly impacted protected wildlife species.  In an effort to protect Nebraskans from the ongoing broadening of the Clean Water Act, I have been in contact with Governor Heineman, the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ), the EPA, Corps, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and our federal delegation, only to learn of continued resistance by federal agencies to take into consideration the voice and rights of our property owners.  The question I continue to ask is whether the decades-old task of “protecting” these birds and fish is truly based on sound science and  a matter of national urgency.  More importantly, in 2011, we experienced a 500-year flood on the Missouri River that struck a devastating blow to our farmland and livelihoods.  Certainly, the protection of fish and wildlife cannot reasonably be more important than protecting the rights of our citizens and the land on which they live.  It is my belief that our endangered fish and wildlife may not be as endangered as the Corps will have us believe.  In fact, the interior least tern, one of the protected species on the Missouri River, is cited by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as of “Least Concern.”

As a district we have faced and will continue to face important issues of public policy.  From September 5 through 10 I will be joining in conversation and study with 48 other state-level leaders across the country at the Council of State Governments Henry Toll Fellowship Program, asking questions and looking for solutions to better serve my constituents and our state and nation.  I will continue to search for ways to provide the best possible education for our children, build and promote strong families, strengthen agriculture and create jobs, build and maintain a viable and affordable infrastructure, and provide public safety and wellbeing for all.

Sen. Lydia Brasch

District 16
Room #1022
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2728
Email: lbrasch@leg.ne.gov
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