NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE
The official site of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Sen. Mike Gloor

Sen. Mike Gloor

District 35

Welcome

January 6th, 2016

Welcome to my web page with the Nebraska Legislature. I’m so glad you stopped by. This website has a wealth of information on the people and the processes of the Legislature as well as information on the specific legislative bills introduced and passed. In addition, you’ll find links to Nebraska statutes, the Nebraska Constitution and many related documents and institutions. Of course if you can’t find what you need please contact me or my staff and we’ll be happy to assist you.

It is my honor to represent the people of District 35. I look forward to hearing from you.

Mike Gloor

Senator Gloor spoke to the students at the 2016 No Butts Day rally on the west steps of the Capitol. No Butts Day is a rally cry against the use of tobacco products and the targeted advertising of tobacco companies toward youth. Thank you students!!!!2016 No Butts day speech

Property taxes

February 23rd, 2016

In 2012 the income tax brackets were widened and the state inheritance tax was eliminated resulting in a three year savings to taxpayers of an estimated $97 million.

In 2014 your Legislature completed a ‘Tax Modernization’ study and embarked on an aggressive agenda of tax relief. Income taxes were “indexed” for inflation. Income thresholds under which social security income is exempt were increased. Furthermore, we initiated income limitations and indexing for inflation for homestead exemptions and some veteran’s retirement benefits as well as exempted agricultural machinery repair from sales tax. We also added $25 million to the existing $115 million property tax credit fund. It was a good year for taxpayers.

Even with a slow down in the economy, we worked in 2015 to build on the tax relief of the previous years. We added an additional $64 million to the property tax credit fund for a cumulative total of $204 million a year in property tax relief. My bill to add a personal property tax exemption of $10,000 a year for businesses, big and small, agricultural and non-agricultural, was also signed into law. In short, the Legislature has worked aggressively to provide tax relief over the last four years. Two challenges remain if we are to continue on that path.

First, the legislative reviews of our taxes conducted over the last few years have all concluded that we are too dependent on property taxes to fund K-12 education. This problem has been exacerbated because of the recent significant increases in agricultural land value. The obvious solution would be for the State to allocate more funding to schools to relieve the dependency on property tax. State revenue comes from income and sales tax (property taxes are collected by the counties) so this is a rebalancing of our K-12 funding formula.

Second, as I pointed out in a column last May, the Legislature cannot control spending of all the entities with levy authority listed on you tax statement. The Unicameral has established budget limits and levy lids to set ceilings on spending growth but we, as Nebraskans, love our local control and depend on locally elected Boards to control local spending.

The challenge is to find an appropriate means to provide state dollars and to do so in a way that finds its way to property tax payers rather than being absorbed into budgets. We can learn from history. The State began providing significant dollars to fund education in the mid-1990’s. The immediate effect was relief for local property taxes. However, after three years those dollars were absorbed in school operating budgets and the increased demand for property tax dollars resumed.

I want to be clear that the intent behind this bill is not to fix blame on the officials we elect to the Boards these entities. Most attempt to control expenses and the resultant out flow of tax dollars. But we taxpayers can be very insistent. We want good roads, effective law enforcement, quality education at all levels, clean and readily available water and long term care available when our seniors can’t afford to care for themselves… and the list goes on.

Senator Sullivan had a column last week that discussed the work her Education Committee and my Revenue Committee have done during the interim on this challenge. We also were successful in engaging the Governor’s office in working collaboratively on the dual issues of State funding for local education and budgeting at local levels. The result are two bills that we, as Committee Chairs, have introduced at the Governor’s request, LB 958 and 959. Both bills seek to provide State dollars as a replacement for local property tax dollars. To assure this insertion of new dollars finds its way to property tax relief the bills also seek to limit the growth in assessed value of agricultural property and restrain spending by local entities with levy authority. That list includes not just schools but also counties, cities, community colleges, natural resource districts and several more listed on your annual property tax statement.

Increases to the budget spending limitations or exceeding levy limits are not absolute but must be taken to a vote of the people. That would seem to be the ultimate accountability; if we want these services then we agree to pay for them.

The hearing on my bill, LB 958, was last week. There are several other bills introduced by other Senators that propose to address portions of the problems I’ve stated that will be heard the same day. It will be an interesting day but an important one for all Nebraskans, not just those who pay taxes. I will continue the theme of taxes in future columns.

As always please feel free to contact me at: Senator Mike Gloor, District 35, P.O. Box 94604, Lincoln, NE 68509, or by email at: mgloor@leg.ne.gov or by phone at 402-471-2617.

2016 PCMH Participation Agreement

February 23rd, 2016

PCMH Participation Agreement with Ricketts signature

 

Thanks to the diligent work of the PCMH stakeholder group we have a new Participation Agreement for 2016 with updated health outcomes menus.

At our January meeting we invited Governor Ricketts to meet with the stakeholders. Governor Ricketts agreed that the effort is worthwhile and should be continued. Thank you, Governor Ricketts, for your endorsement of our efforts and for signing our Participation Agreement.

This is my last legislative session due to term limits and I am tightening my shoe laces knowing that it will be a sprint all the way to the finish line in mid-April. There is too much work to be done and no time for nostalgia.

Since this is a non-budget year it is a shortened Session (60 working days and I’m writing this on day 10) but that doesn’t mean various constituencies expect any less than we would accomplish during a full 90 day session. However, it is clear we have three main priorities.

  • We must deal with corrections problems before the Federal government dictates solutions with big price tags. These price tags would absorb so much of our budget that it eliminates considering anything else. The Judiciary Committee, under the guidance of Senator Seiler of Hastings, has been working diligently on solutions. I remain optimistic.
  • Projections for State revenues are down slightly. That means we must say “no” to otherwise worthy programs far more often than usual. Our ability to keep our budget at just over 3% growth and still cut taxes is the envy of most States. I am not averse to using a small amount of our rainy day fund but ultimately our priority is to say “no.”
  • We must have more property tax relief. Specifically, we must become less dependent on property taxes to fund education. Many of you will have read that the Revenue Committee that I chair has been working with Senator Sullivan and the Education Committee toward possible solutions. Furthermore, we have also been working with Governor Ricketts and his staff to collaboratively address this issue. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to have open and straight forward problem solving discussions with the Executive branch. (Actually, given our communities recent experience with the Veterans Home move, most readers probably have some sense of that.) Having the Governor committed to property tax relief is vital for many reasons, not the least of which is continuity. Property tax relief as relates to education funding will take year by year improvements. Since so many of the Senators who are working on this issue are, like me, term limited this year, the Governor’s office can bring some continued focus to the effort well into the future.

I encourage readers to continue to contact my office about bills of interest or concern to you. There are many bills that don’t address a priority but still may be important to the welfare of the State. Often these bills do not come with a price tag. I especially appreciate constituent feedback on those bills.

This is the first of several columns I will write about taxes, including my proposed tobacco tax. My address still remains, P.O. Box 94604, Lincoln, NE 68509; email is mgloor@leg.ne.gov and the office phone number is 402-471-2617.

 

Tobacco tax bill is about saving Medicaid dollars, property tax credit is a bonus

 

I came to the legislative body hoping that my experience and knowledge in health care could be put to use in ways that make a positive difference.  Reducing the use of tobacco in this state fits that criterion.

My motivation for this bill comes from a lifetime of working around patients suffering the effects of tobacco use.  From a public health stand point, I feel there is no other health issue as devastating to the health of Nebraskans as the direct and indirect effects of tobacco use. An increased price will be the motivation for some tobacco users to kick the habit. I recognize that a majority of tobacco users will continue to use the product but the increase in tax revenue will help offset the subsidization of this habit by the 80 percent of Nebraskans who are not consumers of tobacco products.

LB 1013 proposes to raise the cigarette excise tax by $1.50 from the current 64 cents to $2.14 per pack of twenty cigarettes. It would also raise the wholesale excise tax on tobacco products by 11 percent from the current 20 percent to 31 percent. In 2011 I introduced a bill to increase the cigarette tax to $1.99. In 2013 I introduced a bill to increase the cigarette tax to $1.36. Hopefully, third time is a charm.

The revenue generated by the increase in cigarette excise tax would be directed to the Property Tax Credit Fund, the Department of Revenue to be used to reimburse tax payers for a personal property tax exemption of up to $25,000, and an additional $30 Million to the Health Care Cash Fund with the intent to fund a variety of health care programs.

These programs include the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program, Federally Qualified Health Centers, Public Health Departments, training and recruitment of local emergency medical services personnel, behavioral health provider rates, the Health Care Services Transformation Fund for the purposes of implementing the Act (LB 549), Area Health Education Centers, the College of Public Health to improve population health through community-based research, interventions and education, to HHS to fund biomedical research, and to the Behavioral Health Education Centers of Nebraska to recruit and retain behavioral health professionals in Nebraska.

The intended health care effect of LB 1013 is to reduce tobacco related illness, thereby creating a long-term reduction in Medicaid costs for treatment of heart disease, lung disease and cancers caused by smoking and tobacco use.

The intended tax effect is to decrease the individual tax burden of property owners by increasing the funding for the Property Tax Credit Fund and to increase the personal property tax exemption amount available to entrepreneurs, individual proprietors, small businesses, agri-business and large businesses.

This tax is one of the few taxes that a person can choose not to pay. If you don’t want to pay the tax, don’t use tobacco products. That, of course, is the point. The increased price will reduce the number of tobacco users and, over time, reduce the expense to Nebraska’s taxpayers

The greatest decrease in smokers, would be in the youth of our state. Price increases in tobacco products in other states across our nation have resulted in documented decreases of 20 percent in the category of young smokers.

The legislation that created the current clean air law in Nebraska was a hard fought battle but has proven to be overwhelmingly popular. That support for being smoke free is felt to be one of the reasons the American Cancer Society’s recent survey found that 73 percent of Nebraskans are in favor of a tobacco tax increase.  It might surprise you to learn that almost 50 percent of the smokers interviewed in that survey are also in support of the increase. Why?  As a member of the media who smokes told me during an interview, “I want to stop but need an incentive. This will do it for me.”

Since the last time Nebraska increased the cigarette tax in 2002, other states have raised their cigarette tax an approximate 120 times. Neighboring states in that category include Colorado, South Dakota and Kansas. Kansas not once but three times – the last time just last year.

Still, getting passage of this bill will be difficult.  The tobacco lobby is one of the strongest and best financed in the nation.  Just getting the bill advanced from Committee for debate will be a challenge.

Please feel free to contact me about this bill or any legislative bill or issue. My email is mgloor@leg.ne.gov. My capitol office phone number is 402-471-2617. My mailing address at the Capitol is: P.O. Box 94604, District 35, Lincoln, NE 68509.

 

Senator Mike Gloor, District 35

Multi-payer patient-centered medical home stakeholder group

Senator Mike Gloor

(RESCHEDULED FROM JANUARY 25, 2016)

Meeting date: Monday, February 29, 2016, 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Meeting place: Nebraska Association of County Officials, 1335 H St. Lincoln, Nebraska

NACO phone number: 402-434-5660; Senator Gloor’s office: 402-471-2617

Conference Call Number: (888) 820-1398;  Attendee Code: 1971560#

 

Agenda

  1. Welcome, introductions, anti-trust statement
  2. Annual Reporting from participants
  3. Presentation of 2016 PCMH Participation Agreement
  4. Legislative Update – LB 333
  5. Information Sharing
  6. Governor Pete Ricketts remarks
  7. Next meeting?

 

Multi-payer patient-centered medical home stakeholder group

Senator Mike Gloor

Meeting date: Monday, January 25, 2016, 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Meeting place: Nebraska Association of County Officials, 1335 H St. Lincoln, Nebraska

NACO phone number: 402-434-5660; Senator Gloor’s office: 402-471-2617

Conference Call Number: (888) 820-1398;  Attendee Code: 1971560#

Agenda

  1. Welcome & introductions
  2. Anti-trust statement
  3. Annual Reporting from participants
  4. Signing of 2016 PCMH Participation Agreement
  5. Legislative Update – LB 333
  6. Information Sharing
  7. Next meeting?

LR 22 report 2016

If you have problems viewing the document please call Margaret, 402-471-2617.

Explanation of how the list of potential PCMH clinics was constructed

  1. Each insurance company participating in the PCMH Agreement submitted a list of clinics in their program that they consider in compliance with the agreement.
  2. Each ACO represented in the Agreement (SERPA and Uninet) gave me reports that included a list of clinics.
  3. MIPPA clinics listed on their website as a member of their ACO, that I could find a Nebraska address for, is included.
  4. Six additional clinics found on the NCQA website PCMH recognition list that were not already on the list is included.

180 clinics.

The map with the bluish background by county represents population numbers. The darker the county the more the population. Overlaid with the potential PCMH clinics the numbers tell us that:

  •  83.41 % of the population of the state live in a county with at least one PCMH clinic from this list
  • 36 counties out of 93 have at least one PCMH clinic from this list.

One correction on the maps – Hastings is listed as having 4 Mary Lanning clinics when it should be just two. One of the clinics is actually in Webster County and one is in Clay County.

09302015_potential_pcmhpop

09302015_potential_pcmh

Sen. Mike Gloor

District 35
Room #1116
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2617
Email: mgloor@leg.ne.gov
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