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The Legislature has now finished the first round of budget debate. Overall, I see that the state is heading in the right direction with this budget. It will set Nebraska up for major future tax reform. Here are some takeaways from the first round of debate:
-The biennium budget will have one of the lowest rates of increase in more than three decades,
-The budget includes a $60 million annual increase to the property tax relief fund. This would
increase the fund to $200 million annually for direct tax relief to all Nebraskans.
-Funding for K-12 state aid will grow by $47.7 million over two years, and each school will
receive more money for special education students.
So what does all of this mean? With the annual spending increase held down to 3.1% and our tax revenue forecasted to increase 5% per year, we will be taking the first major step toward tax relief. The next issues we must address include our education funding and the Nebraska Tax Equity and Educational Opportunities Support Act formula. During the interim, the Legislature will take a hard look at this through the School Finance Modernization Committee. It is important that we fix the way the state provides aid to schools because we cannot have meaningful property tax relief without the necessary reform.
Though the budget has only passed the first of three rounds of debate, I feel confident that Legislature will continue to work together to move this budget forward and keep our spending levels low.
As always, I am honored by the faith that you, the voters of District 24, have placed in me. My door is open and I have made it a goal to be accessible to the constituents of our district. You may continue to follow me on Facebook at Kolterman For Legislature and on Twitter at @KoltermanforLegislature. My office in the State Capitol is Room 1115, which I share with my colleague Senator Bob Hilkemann from Omaha. Stop by anytime. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org and the office phone number is 402-471-2756. Kenny Zoeller, my Legislative Aide, and Katie Quintero, my Administrative Aide, are always available to assist you with your needs. If I am not immediately available, please do not hesitate to work with them to address your concerns, thoughts, and needs.
Senator Mark Kolterman