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Citizens of District 18,
I would like to take this opportunity to make some clarifications on how I decide my vote for the various issues in the legislature.
To get to the bottom of a policy issue you must get to the bottom line. A bad policy tends to be wasteful and inefficient, while a good one tends to be careful with the taxpayer’s dollar. I often take the stance that government can always find a more economical solution to any policy which it carries out. Take for instance LB268, or the death penalty repeal bill.
Some of you are already aware that I was a co-sponsor to this bill. Many Nebraskan residents have expressed their deep conviction that they support death penalty repeal based on moral and civil rights grounds. I certainly understand their concerns over wrongful execution. But my concerns, as with most bills, are on fiscal grounds.
Over the past few months, I have found the death penalty to be one of the most inefficient and ineffective examples of government waste. It has been reported, in recent Judiciary Committee testimonies, that the average cost of executing inmates is $3 million per death sentence, most of whom are successful in avoiding the penalty altogether. A life without parole sentence has an average of $1.1 million, and is much more effective. It is for this reason that I would like to see penitentiary reform.
Another issue that was debated at length this year was the voter ID bill, or LB111. As stated during debate, I was opposed to this bill because of its projected fiscal impact. While I cannot say that we as legislators must never pass a bill that would increase expenditures, we must ensure that we are getting what we pay for. Businesses must often weigh a cost-benefit analysis for each decision they make. So our government must weigh similar cost-benefit analyses. LB111 only addressed instances of in-person voter ID. Since Nebraska has never had an instance of in person voter fraud ever reported, I could not justify spending what the fiscal note estimated, so I voted no.
My primary concern when deciding on how I should cast my vote in the legislature will always concern its fiscal impact. Nebraskans have been paying some of the highest property and retirement taxes in the nation, just to name a couple. As a financial adviser, I have heard countless clients express their concern that if property and retirement taxes don’t go down, they will leave when they retire. Our state is losing many of these retirees because of that.
For these reasons, I will always be concerned with the fiscal note, no matter which Senator it comes from.