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As we wind down the first full week of the new legislative session, senators are working vigorously to introduce bills before the Day 10 deadline this coming Wednesday. Senators can only introduce bills for the first ten days, and there are currently around 500 bills that have been introduced. At this time, I have introduced twenty five bills, many dealing with retirement issues, but they also include better access to health care for rural Nebraskans, insurance oversight, and patient safety. For more information regarding each bill, committee hearing date, and bill status can be found on the Unicameral’s website: www.nebraskalegislature.gov.
As your representative for Legislative District 24, I continue to be very concerned about the high property taxes in our state. These property taxes impact all citizens who own property, from our retired senior citizens to our farmers and ranchers who rely on the land for their income. The economy in the State of Nebraska relies heavily on agriculture, and with the down turn in the farm economy, we need to work hard to find real and meaningful property tax relief. Governor Ricketts has brought three property tax relief measures for the Legislature to discuss. His budget provides for $51 million dollars in new, direct property tax relief through the Property Tax Credit Relief Fund each year, establishing a statutory floor of $275 million for the Property Tax Credit Relief Fund, and establishing a three percent camp on property taxes levied by local governments.
As a new member on the Revenue Committee, I will work as diligently as I can to develop the best way, in partnership, to address the revenue challenges Nebraska faces. Most likely, the solution will involve further financial restraint, reliance on money from the cash reserves and tax reductions to help spur more growth in our local economy.
On Tuesday, Governor Ricketts delivered his annual State of the State address. Governor Ricketts highlighted economic achievements for the State such as being the number one state for fiscal condition, the number two state in the union for cost of doing business and regulatory environment, the third highest wage growth since 2014, the fourth best workforce participation rate and the sixth lowest employment rate.
I wish to highlight one more item from Governor Ricketts address. In explaining what his administration is doing in terms of value-added agriculture, he brought up the Schulz family of Seward County, a family which recently gained approval to raise chickens for Costco. I was honored to have three generations of the Schulz family join me for the State of the State address.
As always, if we can be of assistance to you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact my office. My door is open and I have made it a goal to be accessible to the constituents of our district. Please stop by any time. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and the office phone number is 402-471-2756. Tyler and Katie 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 any issues that you may need assistance. Please continue to follow me on Facebook at Kolterman for Legislature and on Twitter at @KoltermanforLegislature.