If you’re reading this on Friday, I’d like to start by wishing you and your family and friends a very happy, and a very safe, St. Patrick’s Day.
This past weekend, I participated in a town hall in Albion with Lieutenant Governor Mike Foley and Attorney General Doug Peterson, and a representative of the Nebraska Department of Insurance. It was great to hear the voices of those of you who came out to visit with us, and I look forward to visiting with many more of you in the coming months and years in town halls across the 41st District.
Last week, I prioritized LB 265, a bill by Senator Friesen of Henderson, which would set a minimum dollar amount of state aid per student for every Nebraska child, beginning at $1,500 for 2018 and eventually raising it to $5,500 by 2022. By providing this state aid to each and every school district in Nebraska, we can untie the hands of school districts across the state who have no choice but to pay for the bulk of their expenses through property taxes. Additionally, as part of a larger package of bills, we can help to immediately give Nebraskans the real property tax reform they are demanding.
Only a few weeks remain for the legislature to pass a budget for the next two years. This process is never easy, and is no more so in a year with substantial revenue shortfalls. Cuts will have to be made to some programs, and emergency funds may have to be tapped into. I have been watching, and will continue to watch, the process as it plays out in the appropriations and revenue committees and elsewhere, and when proposals come to debate on the floor of the legislature, I will do everything I can to protect the interests of rural Nebraska and the people of District 41. No one comes through a tough budget year untouched, but the voices of Nebraskans who are already struggling under a heavy burden need to be heard in the Legislature, so that more financial hardship is not placed on them because of the voices of special interests.
As always, you can reach my office at (402) 471-2631. I look forward to hearing from you!