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It has been a busy week in the Nebraska Legislature as we move closer and closer to the end of session. On Wednesday the budget bill was advanced to final reading despite my no vote. The $9.3 billion budget has a 2.9% average two-year increase in spending. I voted in opposition to advancing the budget bill because the increased rate of spending is irresponsible. More cuts needed to be made to bring down spending growth and deliver property tax relief.
LB 720, also known as the ImagiNE Act, was debated for the first time this week. The ImagiNE Act is a replacement package for the Advantage Act for business incentives designed to keep Nebraska competitive. Keeping Nebraska competitive and showing we are a great place to do business is important but we cannot offer these incentives until we deliver property tax relief. We debated LB 720 for three hours without a vote and now Senator Kolterman needs to show he has 33 senators’ support to bring the bill back for debate.
Senator Linehan’s tax bill, LB 289, was discussed for three hours without a vote last week. The bill raises the tax on all sales, as well as imposes new taxes on many services like home repair, pet services, self-care services and even bottled water. These new tax dollars would be used in an effort to “offset” spending by local governments, hoping they will reduce spending and in return – our property taxes. The problem with this approach though is it has been tried twice and failed miserably both times. It led to increased local spending on educating while property taxes continued to increase. Any tax hike without spending cuts, limitations, or changes to our school funding formula is not property tax relief. It is now up to Senator Linehan to show that she has 33 senators’ support to bring the bill back for debate. I believe the bill will need significant changes to garner enough support for a return.
My priority bill, LB 209, which would expand the information required to be provided during a medication abortion will be up for select file, the second stage of debate, soon. A medication abortion is a two pill process and my bill requires a woman be informed that it may be possible to continue their pregnancy after taking the first pill. The required information will direct the woman to the Department of Health and Human Services to be referred to a medical professional who can assist her in continuing the pregnancy. We want women to have every chance to choose life. I hope to have the votes to advance this critical pro-life bill to final reading when it comes up for debate.
It is of great importance that I hear from my constituents to effectively do my job as your voice in the Legislature. I encourage you to contact me and I look forward to hearing from you. If you would like to follow along with live coverage of the session you can do so at www.netnebraska.org/capitol