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STATE FAIR WAS A BIT WET BUT TOTALLY DELIGHTFUL! I made the trip out to Grand Island this past weekend to celebrate the Grand Opening of the Nebraska State Fair’s 150th anniversary and 10th year anniversary of the Fair’s move to Grand Island. Though the weather wasn’t as cooperative as we had hoped, I want to congratulate the State Fair Board for putting together a fun and exciting event for Nebraskans! It was exciting to see exhibits from residents of District 17 and I took a lot of pictures that I hope to have on my social media site soon. I attended the Governor’s Breakfast, where he spoke of the strength of Nebraskans, who time after time show an ability to share one another’s burdens in the fact of natural disasters like this year’s flooding and addressed issues like property tax relief efforts since he’s been in office and reinforced property tax relief as his top priority in 2020. The Governor also spoke of his hope for China negotiations to go well and the important role good trade relations can play on Nebraska farmers and ranchers. I join him in that hope.
Speaking of PROPERTY TAX RELIEF, I, and many others attended a TOWN HALL in Norfolk on the subject in Norfolk on August 20, 2019. It’s no secret that property tax relief is a huge issue across the state. Nebraska reportedly has the country’s seventh-highest property taxes, with Nebraskans paying about $4 billion in property taxes annually. Though the Governor and the Legislature have been successful in growing the Property Tax Relief Fund contribution, finding a comprehensive solution has proven elusive. Town Hall participants from the Legislature discussed efforts past, present, and future. Participants included Senators Linehan and Briese from the Revenue Committee, Speaker Scheer and Senator Ben Hansen. Attendees learned that the Revenue Committee has been meeting almost weekly to discuss ways to put in place a plan for needed relief. Discussions to date and at the town hall include exploring raising the sales tax rate, legalization and taxation of all kinds of vices, making big cuts in government spending, and/or eliminating sales tax exemptions. There is no doubt the discussions will continue and I will be part of them. Be certain you will see further information in future weekly updates.
District 17 was honored to have Senator Jim Smith and the Nebraska Chamber present BLUEPRINT NEBRASKA at an event hosted by the South Sioux City Chamber on August 21, 2019. The event was well attended by Siouxlanders, were able to set eyes on the plan’s goals to achieve economic excellence in every part of the state. The Blue Print Nebraska Summary Report and its powerful recommendations for a strong Nebraska future is a collaborative effort over the last 14 months. The process involved over 2,000 participants and approximately 5,000 respondents across the states. I’d like to invite you to visit the Blue Print Nebraska website to familiarize yourself with the outcomes of the planning effort and the three to four themes the team hopes to introduce and initiate in the year ahead. The information can be found at https://blueprint-nebraska.org/. I personally appreciate the time and talents invested by the Governor, UNL President Hank Bounds, and the many Nebraskans who participated in building the vision and putting forward meaningful goals to benefit all of Nebraska. Stay tuned and stay involved!
Finally, challenging ROAD CLOSURE news for many residents of District 17 came out of the Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) office in Norfolk last week. It is confirmed that, during the planned culvert rehabilitation involving the 11-mile segment of Highway 35, it was discovered that the original plan to modify a box culvert would not suffice. Instead, NDOT will replace the box culvert with a new, larger one. This means that this portion of Highway 35 will be closing in the near future and remain closed for a period of several months. I am continuing to visit with the Department about detour routes and am encouraging an effort to minimize the impact to local users. Highway 35 will remain open until work on the new box culvert can begin. I will keep you posted in my weekly update going forward about information provided by NDOT regarding length of the closure and detour information.
As always, 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. You can reach me by phone at 402-471-2716 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org