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Mike Jacobson

Sen. Mike Jacobson

District 42

The content of these pages is developed and maintained by, and is the sole responsibility of, the individual senator's office and may not reflect the views of the Nebraska Legislature. Questions and comments about the content should be directed to the senator's office at

Attention Nebraska College and Trade School Students!

Page applications and letters of recommendation for the 2024 Legislative Session are now being accepted in the Clerk’s Office!

What is a Legislative Page exactly? Pages respond to Senators’ request lights on the legislative floor. They run errands, deliver messages, photocopy materials, get food and drink for the Senators, assist the presiding officer, set up and staff committee hearings and perform other duties as assigned.

The 2024 Legislative Session is scheduled to run from January 3, 2024-Mid April 2024.  You must be able to work 20 hours a week.  This is a paid position and you MAY be able to receive credit hours through your school.

The deadline for submission is 5pm CST on Friday October 13, 2023.

Further details and online application can be found here:

Please contact the Office of the Clerk of the Legislature with questions or if you need more information at (402) 471-2271

January 4th, 2023

Thank you for visiting my website. It is an honor to represent the people of the 42nd legislative district in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature.

You’ll find my contact information on the right side of this page, as well as a list of the bills I’ve introduced this session and the committees on which I serve. Please feel free to contact me and my staff about proposed legislation or any other issues you would like to address.

Sen. Mike Jacobson

I spent the better part of last week in Lincoln attending various meetings, including the annual Platte Institute’s Legislative Summit. Speaker John Arch delivered the opening address. Speaker Arch faced a huge challenge in the 2023 session. When the session began, we had a new Governor, a new Clerk, a new Speaker, and 15 freshman Senators, 7 out of the 15 committee chairs were new, and there was a huge turnover in legislative staff, including 8 new committee counsels.

In the end, the most obvious challenge was the new and inventive uses of the legislative rules of procedures to block debate rather than promote real debate. It is a testament to Speaker Arch’s leadership that we were able to accomplish anything at all. I look forward to working with the Speaker and others to review some of our rules and procedures in 2024 to help ensure that we have an open debate on all bills and make the 2024 session a very productive session.

Speaker Arch did a great job of recapping the Legislature’s accomplishments in 2023 during his address. We passed a Voter ID bill, as directed by the voters. We passed legislation enabling the adoption of the Certified Community Behavioral Health model, changing the way we deliver behavioral health in the state. We made strides in criminal justice reform, focusing on helping inmates to successfully transition when their time served is complete. We committed funding for the Perkins County Canal project, established the Broadband Office, and extended grant applications under the Nebraska Broadband Bridge Act. We ended the practice of home equity theft and paved the way for bond financing of state highway projects.

On the education front, we dramatically increased funding for special education and created foundation aid to support our rural public schools that do to currently receive TEEOSA funding. The Legislature also made great strides in adopting policies to increase school security, recruit and retain teachers by removing testing and certification barriers, and, for the first time, give families true school choice.

Perhaps the most notable action taken by the Legislature this year was the passage of major tax reform packages. These reforms include fully eliminating the State taxation of Social Security while also phasing in the reduction of both individual and corporate income taxes down to 3.99% by 2027.

The income tax is not the only tax that is a burden on Nebraskans. High property taxes are pushing seniors out of their homes that they have worked hard to own, and our farmers and ranchers continue to pay property taxes that are clearly out of line. To help solve this problem, LB243 transfers funding for our Community Colleges to the State, rather than keeping their operating budgets on the property tax rolls. We also provided $309 million in additional funding to public schools and established and funded a $1 billion “Future Education Fund” to ensure the State can fulfill its commitments to this additional funding level. It is also important to note that the Legislature once again added funding to the income tax rebate that will allow every property taxpayer to claim a tax credit equal to 30% of the property taxes paid toward your public school and community college property taxes. This rebate is available even if you do not owe any state income taxes.

Finally, we passed a budget that delivers on essential government services but also holds the spending growth to under 2% and maintains $ 830 million in our State’s rainy-day fund.

Regardless of how we got there, it was a very productive first session of the 108th legislative session. I remain positive about what we can accomplish next year during the shorter 60-day legislative session.

I look forward to continuing to hear from you regarding issues that are important to you. It is a privilege to serve as your State Senator, and I will continue to give my full effort to make a positive difference for District 42 and the State. You can reach me at or by calling my legislative office at 402-471-2729.

I spent most of this past week in Lincoln to meet with my staff and wrap up work on unfinished business from this past legislative session. One piece of unfinished business was LB32, which proposes changes in requirements for issuers of Medicare supplement insurance policies or certificates relating to coverage of individuals under sixty-five years of age who are eligible for Medicare by reason of disability or end-stage renal disease. This issue was brought to my attention by a constituent from North Platte who was forced to move to North Dakota a few years ago to obtain such coverage for his wife, who was suffering from MS. Because she was under age 65, she was unable to obtain coverage under Medicare, and yet the costs associated with her disease would have ultimately bankrupted them. They have since returned to North Platte after his wife turned 65.

After a lengthy bill hearing earlier this year before the Banking, Commerce, and Insurance Committee, the committee was divided on how to proceed with LB32. I agreed that I would work with the industry during the interim to try to reach an acceptable compromise. The meeting this week marks the third meeting with the industry to discuss my primary concerns that prompted the bill. First and foremost, it was imperative that coverage was available to all disabled residents. I also wanted to see to it that there was an acceptable alternative for those living with end-stage renal disease to have affordable care. Although we did not reach a final agreement on their proposal, I believe there is a good faith effort to reach an agreement that would put Nebraska on par with many other states while significantly impacting the cost of Medicare Supplement coverage for all existing residents.

As I ponder this offer, I am mindful that any bills that do not pass during the coming 60-day legislative session will die. Additionally, it will be difficult to get sufficient floor time for any bills to get through three rounds of debate that do not have full committee support. To help ensure passage, I’ll be working to get LB32 included in the committee priority bill. Like so many bills that come before the legislature, it is important not to let perfection get in the way of progress. In many cases, we need to focus on incremental progress to reach the goals we set. I will keep you posted on this bill as we get closer to the next legislative session.

I also spent time this week attending the second of four meetings of the Governor’s “Property Valuation Working Group.” The first meeting held last month was spent discussing the scope of our mission. This month, we discussed various valuation issues that have frustrated taxpayers. There is no question that property taxes have now gotten the attention of legislators throughout the state. Historically, the urban Senators have focused more on income taxes; however, they, too, have now heard the drumbeat from constituents about the problems caused by high property taxes.

As I have discussed in the past, the property tax problem is a local problem that is caused by the spending of local taxing authorities. In some cases, the spending is federally- or state-mandated, but the digressionary spending must be controlled by locally elected boards if we want to control the growth of property taxes. The state has been playing a role in reducing the “net” cost of property taxes by providing a property tax credit (reflected on your property tax statement), and, over the past couple of years, an income tax rebate equal to 30% of the amount of property taxes paid by property taxpayers to your local public school and community college. The Legislature has also taken steps this session to remove community colleges from taxing for their operating expenses beginning in 2025 and providing these funds from the State.

More still needs to be done despite these major steps forward. Although the working group was created to focus on “property valuations,” the group is clearly focused on how to address property taxes better. I did raise the point to the group that there was a time when property taxes, sales taxes, and income taxes would each contribute approximately 1/3 of the total tax needs for the state. Today, approximately $2.1 billion is generated from sales taxes, $4 billion from income taxes, and $5 billion from property taxes. Clearly, the balance is off. It seems clear to me that sales taxes are not holding up their part. However, it will also be imperative that, should we expand the sales tax base and generate more funding, those dollars are sent directly back to property taxpayers. This will likely be a major focus of the working group in our final two meetings.

I look forward to continuing to hear from you regarding issues that are important to you. It is a privilege to serve as your State Senator, and I will continue to give my full effort to make a positive difference for the District and the State. You can reach me at or by calling my legislative office at 402-471-2729.

As I begin working on legislation for 2024, I wanted to update you on some of my priorities. As you may recall, the first bill I introduced in the Nebraska Legislature was LB31, the two-person crew bill. This bill would require all Class 1 railroad companies operating in Nebraska to have both an engineer and a conductor in the cab of the lead locomotive. By making this practice law, it would make certain that this current requirement would not be eliminated through any future collective bargaining agreements.

As trains have become longer, current technology has advanced but not to the point of keeping up with safety needs. The conductor is the only one available to be there to assist the engineer should a problem occur and is, in many cases, the only one available to be a first responder in the event of an accident. When an accident occurs, the engineer is busy securing the train in the cab of the lead engine. The conductor is the only one available to leave the train with the train manifest to provide real-time information about the contents of each car.

We would all like to think that the trains are safe and risks to the public are minimal. But the most recent report issued by the Federal Rail Administration (FRA) that cited numerous safety violations of engines and cars in our own Bailey Yard is further evidence that the two-person crew is more important now than ever before. I also believe that the explosion and fire that occurred in Bailey Yard this past week gives the public a much better perspective of the kind of hazardous material that rolls down the tracks every day. We were fortunate that the accident occurred when and where it did, but what if it had happened in the middle of town along the way? How would the first responders even know what the car was carrying?

One alternative that has been proposed is having individuals on call along the route who can drive to an accident site. But waiting for someone to drive to the site would be unacceptable. Last year, it was both my and the railroads’ hope that either the FRA or Congress would step in to deal with this issue on a federal level, but no federal action has been taken. In addition, the filibusters in the 2023 section forced Senators to work together to determine our most urgent priorities. For these reasons, I allowed my bill to stay in committee and did not try to pull the bill from committee. However, I made it clear that it would become my personal priority bill this year if nothing is done between now and January 2024.

The time for waiting to codify the two-person crew language for Class I railroads needs to end. For that reason, I am committed to prioritizing LB31 in January so that the bill can be voted out of committee and moved through the legislative process. Our railroad workers and the public deserve no less.

It is important to lay out once again what I call the “math of the Legislature.” It takes a majority vote of the members of the committee where a bill is referenced to get the bill to the floor. But the committee chair must be willing to hold a vote. Once the bill is voted out of committee, it waits to be scheduled for debate by the Speaker. Priority bills automatically come ahead of unprioritized legislation, but otherwise, the order bills are considered on the floor is at the Speaker’s discretion.

Once the bill is scheduled, it must receive 25 “yes” votes to advance on all three rounds of debate (General File, Select File, and Final Reading). If there is a filibuster, it takes 33 “yes” votes to cease debate and allow a vote. If the bill passes on Final Reading, it is signed by the President of the Legislature and forwarded to the Governor for his signature. The Governor can sign the bill or issue a veto. It takes 30 “yes” votes to override a Gubernatorial veto. If, at any time during the process, the bill fails to get enough votes to advance, the bill dies.

You will note that the number of needed votes is based on “yes” votes. A Senator may vote “yes” or “no,” or there may be instances where they don’t cast a vote. Senators who were absent for a vote will be listed as “excused not voting” and Senators who could have voted but didn’t will be listed as “present not voting;” those votes have the effect of a “no” vote. There are a number of reasons a Senator may be “present not voting.” One reason could be that they do not want to go on record one way or the other, but it could also be that votes are happening quickly and the Senator is off of the floor meeting with constituents or tending to other business. The body will only wait for all Senators to vote if there is a “call of the house.” If the vote is important, there generally is a call of the house.

Personally, I take voting seriously and do my best never to miss a vote. I’m also not afraid to vote “yes” or “no,” even if the topic is controversial or complicated. I believe strongly in transparency.

If you have an issue you want to discuss, please feel free to reach out to me directly at or 402-471-2729. My door is always open!

Julie and I had the opportunity to attend the Nebraska Family Alliance’s annual gala in Omaha this past Thursday night. I was honored to receive the “Life and Liberty” award, along with several of my colleagues who voted to support stronger abortion restrictions last session.

The other award winner was Dr. Tom Osborne, who received the first “Lifetime Legacy Award.” As always, Dr. Osborne was witty and drove home a very important message. He shared with the crowd that he began his college coaching in 1962. He said that at the time, most of the athletes he recruited came from traditional nuclear families with both parents living in the same home; however, over the years, that all changed. As the years passed, it became clear that the family unit was breaking down. In his final years of coaching, he found it rare that players were coming from a traditional family. In fact, in some cases, he had to travel to another town to meet with one of the parents.

Dr. Osborne started the “Teammates” organization to try to help young people who didn’t have a stable home environment to help them have a better chance at success in life. The organization started out small but has since had a huge impact on youth throughout the Midwest. The results have been amazing when you look at the college graduation rate of the mentees over the years. Young people need a stable force in their lives who can help them deal with the challenges they face as adolescents.

It is clear to me that today’s youth are faced with more challenges than ever before. With the decline of the family unit and the decline in those regularly attending church, a greater number of people have lost their perspective on the sanctity of life.

The keynote speaker was Dr. Ben Carson. Dr. Carson gave an amazing presentation and is every bit the person I imagined him to be. He shared how he grew up as someone who believed in a woman’s right to choose if she wanted to carry a baby to full term. His perspective changed after performing one of the first in vitro surgeries to save the life of twins. One of the twins had developed encephalitis at a time when the twins were not far along enough to be safely delivered. Dr. Carson performed an experimental surgery that saved both twins’ lives. Years later, a young woman approached him to confirm that he was indeed the same Dr. Carson who performed the surgery on her mother that saved her life. It was at that point in time that he realized that all lives are worth saving, including preborn babies. I could not help but identify with his personal experience of having one moment that forever impacted his beliefs. He has been a strong pro-life advocate from that time forward.

Some have asked me if bills like LB574 were more important than spending time lowering our taxes, reducing regulations, or creating new opportunities for my constituents. I answer that by saying that my core values cannot be turned off when I do the work of representing the residents of District 42. In the end, you need to look yourself in the mirror every day and know that what you are doing is making a positive difference. Dr. Osborne and Dr. Carson reminded me of that on Thursday night.

Last week, the Nebraska 4-H Foundation voted to turn over all $2 million of the net insurance proceeds from the camp facility that burned near Halsey last fall. I could not be more pleased with their decision and for their support of the project moving forward. As was discussed in the media, the goal is not just to replace the 4-H camp but to bring a much-expanded concept that can serve a broader purpose and have the staying power to support itself. This is an ambitious endeavor that will be built in phases. Once the feasibility study is complete, we will launch an aggressive fundraising campaign through the Nebraska Community Foundation.

Thank you to Jeff Yost and his staff with the Community Foundation for their leadership in helping to organize this process and keep the project moving forward. I am also grateful to all the local residents who showed up for the hearings and who are committing their time and effort to assist with this project. I remain committed to achieving economic growth that will serve to improve the lives of those in all parts of District 42.

Please feel free to reach out to me directly at or 402-471-2729. My door is always open!

As we enter September, harvest is just around the corner, fall sports have begun, and all our local taxing authorities are finalizing their annual budgets.

As discussed in previous articles, property taxes are assessed at the local level by local taxing authorities, who are represented by locally elected boards. As voters, you have the ability to attend meetings held by your taxing authorities and can decide who represents you on each board with your vote. Far too many voters fail to take advantage of the opportunity to better understand how each taxing authority operates and give their input regarding their spending proposals.

The property tax journey begins on January 1, which is the “as of” date for determining the value of your property for the current tax year. Once the values are confirmed, each property owner is notified of any changes in their property value. This, in turn, gives property owners the opportunity to protest the valuation, if they believe the value is incorrect. Once all of the property protests have been settled, the assessor can now determine the total property tax “base” for each taxing authority.

To be clear, every property is located inside certain taxing districts. If your property is within municipal limits, you are subject to city or village taxes. You also will pay taxes for your county, but your school district taxes will depend on where your property is located as well. Ultimately, your property tax is determined once all the taxing authorities where your property is located have finalized their budgets. The tax rate (mill levy) for that political subdivision is then determined by dividing their total budget needs into the total tax (value) base of the property within their taxing authority. The County Treasurer simply adds up all the mill levies for each taxing authority your property is located within and multiplies the total mill levy by the assessed value of your property to determine your property tax.

This past week, the city of North Platte met to develop its proposed budget. If it receives final approval, it will reduce its property tax request by $57,538, which will help reduce the total property tax bill for those with property located within the city limits of North Platte. Keep in mind that the actual property tax “value” of property within the city limits of North Platte increased by 8.6% year over year. So, as we have stated before, it is not the value of your property that determines your property tax, but instead, it is the combination of your property value and the mill levy that determines your property tax.

It is important to remember that strong sales tax revenues helped to reduce their property tax need, but growth in sales taxes has been possible because city leaders chose to support major new developments by backing important incentives necessary to make these developments possible.

It is also important to keep in mind that our local political subdivisions are dealing with the impact of inflation, just like every consumer and business. All employees expect annual raises and benefit costs to continue to rise, especially the cost of health insurance. At the same time, the cost of fuel, electricity, repairs, and materials are up as well. That is why it is important to remain focused on growing our tax bases. This has happened in North Platte as new construction continues to increase the size of the property tax base. Additionally, the sales tax base continues to increase sales tax collections. There is an old saying that says, “If you are not growing, you are shrinking.” This happens because you must grow your tax “base” to offset the annual growth in expenditures.

Although the school districts have the greatest impact on local property taxes, the city of North Platte’s proposed budget is a great start for those owning property in North Platte. I expect most of the villages within District 42 will see their school districts limit their tax asks due to the new funding coming from the Legislature through the “Foundation Aid” of $1,500/student and the higher state aid for special education funding. But, school districts have a very high number of employees compared to their total budget. This makes it more challenging to hold the line on total expenditures. Nonetheless, the new state aid will certainly help reduce the otherwise larger revenue needs. We will continue to watch as the budgets continue to be released.

Please continue to contact me on this and other issues at, or feel free to call my office 402-471-2729. My door is always open!

This past weekend, Julie and I were happy to take part in the annual Hershey Fall Fest parade. As an added bonus, we were joined by Miss Nebraska 2023 Morgan Baird. Prior to becoming Miss Nebraska, Morgan served as a page in the Nebraska Legislature. She is a class act.

I also spent time in Lincoln last week to catch up on some legislative duties and attend the first meeting of Governor Pillen’s Property Value Working Group. This first meeting was the first of four set to occur before the end of 2023. Hopefully, we will be able to offer a bill in the 2024 legislative session.

As the frustrations with property taxes reach the boiling point, some seek alternative ways to fund local governmental bodies. Although I share those concerns, I caution that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence.

One proposed solution is the Eliminate Property, Income, and Corporate (“EPIC”) tax plan. At its simplest, the EPIC tax would eliminate property, income, and sales taxes (but not excise taxes) and replace them with a “consumption tax,” taxing only new goods and services. In theory, this would allow consumers to control their tax bill by moderating their spending habits. Currently, a petition drive is underway to put the EPIC tax on the ballot in 2024.

I can see the appeal of the EPIC tax. We all want to send less money to the government, and it seems fair: that those with more money will spend more money and, therefore, pay more in taxes. Unfortunately, implementation is not so simple.

Here are a few things to consider before supporting the EPIC tax:

First, the ballot initiative wants to change the Nebraska Constitution to prohibit property, income, and sales tax and only authorize excise taxes and a consumption tax. Making the EPIC tax a constitutional mandate is hard to undo and risky, particularly given that no other state has tried this type of tax scheme.

Second, the ballot initiative simply directs the Legislature to implement the EPIC tax. Although hard to avoid with the way the “single subject” rule regulates how ballot initiatives can be drafted, there is no guarantee the Legislature will implement the EPIC tax as its proponents envision. Tax policy is very complex, and there will be a lot of interest involved in implementation.

Third, property taxes are currently assessed locally, by locally elected officials. As a result, you have the power to elect others to represent you if you truly believe that they are not representing your best interests. Proponents of the EPIC tax would instead send all the taxes collected to the State, where boards made up of unelected officials would decide how the money is distributed. Do we really believe that a board in Lincoln will not force school consolidation, given the disparity in cost per pupil in rural schools versus larger urban schools? What about consolidating county seats? How about road maintenance? It seems to me that local control would be a thing of the past.

Fourth, the consumption tax will not be at the current sales tax rate. Today, the State portion of sales tax is 5.5%. In the 2021-22 Fiscal Year, Nebraska collected $2.1 billion in sales taxes. It also collected $3.2 billion in individual income taxes, $715 million in corporate income taxes, and about $250 million from other sources for a total of approximately $6.26 billion. Additionally, local taxing authorities collected just over $5 billion in property taxes. This takes us to $11.26 billion in statewide tax collections, not including local option sales taxes that typically take the existing retail sales tax to 6.5-7.5%.

So, the question then becomes, how high does the new “consumption” tax rate need to be? Proponents suggest 7.5%, but the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce estimates that the actual rate would need to be 15-20%. Will Nebraskans truly be saving? Can we ensure sufficient revenues, particularly when shoppers in many communities can easily cross into border states? What happens to the cost of owning and operating a business in Nebraska?

Fifth, because the consumption tax applies to all new goods and services, it can really add up for big purchases. For example, let’s pretend a couple decides to purchase a new home for $300,000, and the consumption tax is 10%. If they choose to put down only 10% of the purchase price, here is the total amount that they would need to bring to closing: $30,000 for the down payment, $30,000 to pay the consumption tax, $27,000 to pay the consumption tax on their $270,000 mortgage, plus payment for closing costs of title insurance, transfer fees, and the associated consumption taxes on these items. In the end, they would need nearly $100,000 at closing to buy a $300,000 home but would come away with only $30,000 in equity. Is this truly a good replacement for property taxes, especially for young families?

I believe we need to explore every solution to our high property tax problem. Unfortunately, I’m not convinced the EPIC tax is ready for prime time. The more responsible path is to continue the Legislature’s work to reduce property taxes and better balance the tax burden while continuing to seek a long-term solution.

Please continue to contact me on this and other issues at, or feel free to call my office 402-471-2729. My door is always open!

Last week, I sat down with Lincoln County Assessor Julie Stenger to prepare for my first meeting of the Governor’s Property Tax Valuation Working Group. Julie has been in her role for many years and has a great understanding of the assessment process. She and I had a great discussion, and I was able to get a better understanding of the fine points of the assessment process. Julie provided me with the information I needed to be well-prepared to represent the interests of this part of the state when the Working Group meets.

I expect that the goal of the Working Group will be to take a closer look at how we value various types of property and whether the process is fair. I also assume that we will look at the Homestead Exemption, and other tax exemptions to confirm that they are carried out consistently and that the parameters make sense. As I have discussed before, your valuation is only one part of the property tax equation. But ensuring that our property tax “values” are set fairly is the first step in making certain that the property tax burden is fairly distributed.

Two of my biggest concerns with our property tax system are the impact it has on the elderly and agricultural producers. Many retirees face a similar scenario: a couple decides to retire after their homes are paid off, and they have two social security incomes to supplement their other retirement savings. Then, one of the individuals passes away, removing one of the social security revenue sources. Meanwhile, their property value continues to rise, sometimes increasing their property taxes and/or causing them to lose their Homestead Exemption.

The Legislature created the Homestead Exemption many years ago in an attempt to give homeowners over the age of 65, disabled individuals, and disabled veterans a break on property taxes. It is important to remember that the state of Nebraska fully reimburses the lost revenue for local political subdivisions resulting from the Homestead Exemption. We always hear about “unfunded mandates,” but this is a “funded mandate” by the state.

Generally, receiving a Homestead Exemption requires both the individual to qualify (either by income level or disability) and their property to qualify (based on the home’s value).

For a person over 65 to qualify, they must earn less than $33,100 as an individual or under $38,900 for those who are married, closely related, or widowed. For people who are 100% disabled, they can earn up to $37,300 as an individual or $42,700 for married, closely related, or widowed. If their incomes are higher, then the amount of the exemption is reduced by a percentage until the income levels reach $48,600 for singles, $57,700 for married, closely rated, and widowed, and $52,800 for single disabled individuals, and $61,600 for married, closely related, and widowed. If a disabled Veteran is 100% disabled, they have no income limits and no property value limit, but their exemption would be limited to their residence, a detached garage, and up to one acre of land. If they are not 100% disabled, they would qualify under the requirements for a disabled person requirements.

Even if the individual qualifies, their property must also meet certain requirements. For a person over 65, their primary residence must be tax assessed at a rate below 200% of the average value of homes in the county plus $20,000. In Lincoln County, the average home value is $157,498, so a primary residence would qualify if valued under $334,996. For a disabled person, the calculation is under 225% of the average home value plus $20,000. There is no home value limit for Veterans who are 100% disabled.

There are a couple of modifications that I think should be considered. First, I would like to see Veterans who are more than 50% disabled get a full exemption without having to qualify under the individual exemption. Second, I also would like to see us freeze the home value for anyone who must meet the home value calculation to receive the Homestead Exemption, only increasing the valuation for any improvements beyond ordinary maintenance. This would protect those who are impacted by inflation adjustments or spikes in property valuations.

I also think there are broader valuation changes that should be considered. First, assessors must physically inspect all properties in their jurisdiction every six years, essentially reviewing 1/6th of the properties within the county every year. However, there is more that goes into valuations than just the physical inspection. I have long believed that farmers and ranchers are negatively impacted by the property “valuation” process because the assessors are required to reassess agricultural and commercial values at least every three years based on average arms-length sales over the previous three-year period. As many of you know, many farms and ranches are purchased by investors looking for a hedge against inflation or a safe place to park their money. When this happens, land values move to levels well above economic values. Meanwhile, commercial properties are not used as inflation hedges, and they tend to follow economic value. The same is true for residential properties. These properties have values that tend to mirror rental rate increases. Additionally, homes tend to stay below the cost of building new ones. Therefore, I believe that agricultural landowners tend to pay higher property taxes in relation to the income generated from the property.

I am looking forward to the Working Group meeting and will work hard to represent our area’s interests. Please continue to contact me on this and other issues at, or feel free to call my office at 402-471-2729. My door is always open!

This past week started with Julie and I attending parades in Brady, Stapleton, and Mullen. We then spent this Saturday in Maxwell, participating in their annual parade. Eating some of the three delicious pies from Maxwell’s pie auction was the perfect end to the week. We now have our sights set on the Hershey Fall Festival!

We also attended the annual Governor’s Ag and Economic Development Summit in Kearney. The event began with the annual Nebraska Diplomats’ awards banquet. I was honored to join other area leaders in accepting the Community of the Year Award on behalf of the City of North Platte. In recent years, the North Platte area has quietly ignited amazing growth that will have a profound effect on this area for decades to come. I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the outstanding work of Gary Person, who used his long history of economic development to play a key role in orchestrating the growth we see today.

Although these major developments are in the North Platte/Hershey area, the economic impact and population growth will have a large reach. Our greatest challenge over the next few years will be finding housing for all the new workers needed to meet the new job creation. There may never be a greater opportunity to grow all the communities in District 42 than right now. Going forward, we need to use all the tools in our toolbox to lower the cost of new housing and improve the existing housing stock. I look forward to working with all our area leaders to maximize economic development opportunities.

This week, Governor Pillen will be in North Platte to visit with local education leaders and attend a rally for those who support the Opportunity Scholarship Act. Governor Pillen spent his entire campaign making it clear how much he cared about helping every child in this state reach their fullest potential. To that end, he included in his budget more than $300 million in annual funding increases for public schools and a $1 billion fund to help ensure that these increases will remain in place. He also pushed for the Legislature to adopt the LB753, the Opportunity Scholarship Act.

As disappointing as it is to see that there is an effort to repeal this act, I have confidence that the voters will see through all the misinformation out there and uphold the Legislature’s decision on this issue. In the end, this bill is about reducing barriers that prevent low-income families from choosing their child’s school. I have said before and will say again, the bill is not a slam on public schools or teachers; it is about opportunities for every child to attend the school that best fits their learning style. Just as option enrollment allows parents to transfer their students from one public school to another, low-income parents can now add private and parochial schools to their options.

During my travels this past week, I had the opportunity to join the area public school superintendents at a workshop in Sutherland. I appreciated the invitation to meet with them and to understand better the daily challenges they and their teaching staff face every day. As many of you know, I was a vocational agriculture instructor after graduating from the University of Nebraska many years ago. Although teaching had its challenges then, I cannot imagine teaching today. The changes in society over the years have brought teaching challenges in the public school systems today to a new level.

Teachers have always been there to help support each and every one of their students. But the drug issues that have infested our nation are here in western Nebraska as well. As a result, teachers and school administrators have more and more interactions with law enforcement and mental health providers. These challenges go largely unnoticed by the general public but are real issues that teachers deal with every day in their classrooms. As your District 42 State Senator, I am committed to working with the Governor and school administrators to find ways to remove the barriers to education that can result in better educational outcomes.

If you have issues on your mind, please feel free to reach out to me directly at or 402-471-2729. My door is always open!

As the summer winds down and students get ready to return to school, we’re taking advantage of warm-weather activities. Over the weekend, Julie and I participated in the Brady Days annual parade, drove up to Stapleton to participate in the annual Logan County Fair parade, then on to Mullen for the Hooker County Fair parade and annual beef barbeque. We also carved out time to take part in a portion of the annual Rail Days activities in North Platte. I am always amazed at the elaborate model train display that is held at the D&N Event Center. Thank you to the Kiwanis Club for providing a delicious pancake feed.

I always look forward to attending events throughout District 42 and having the opportunity to speak to constituents in person. There is nothing like one-on-one conversations to find out what is really on people’s minds. As we begin working on legislation for the coming session, these conversations provide me with valuable information to develop bills that can address the needs of District 42.

One issue that’s getting some conversation is the Lincoln County Commissioners’ possible zoning regulations for wind turbines. As a landowner, I have always believed that I should be allowed to use my land as I see fit with very limited interference from the government. However, this gets complicated when one’s land use could significantly impact the value of my adjacent land. This is the primary reason that zoning laws exist.

Zoning regulations, when properly enacted, can serve as a way to protect all parties without preventing individual landowners from enjoying the use of their property. If you live in a neighborhood that is intended to be made up of single-family homes, it can be disruptive to the neighborhood if someone decides to build an apartment house on their property. It can also negatively impact property values if someone pulls in a mobile home on their property.

It is also important to balance the value of different types of uses, particularly when it comes to livestock facilities. Once again, this issue cuts both ways. If I have a cattle feed yard that was built many years ago, and my neighbor subdivides his property to allow for high-end homes on acreages, I should not be forced to shut down my feed yard because the “new” neighbors don’t want the odor. Meanwhile, if I decide to build a new feed yard right next to an existing community, you may want some protection from the new land use. This is the issue facing the Lincoln County Commissioners when it comes to wind generators.

There has been a push throughout the state to locate wind generators on farms and ranches. The promoters are offering lucrative lease rates to entice landowners to enter into long-term leases to allow the construction and operation of wind generators on private land. The question before the Commissioners is, “How far from the property line should these generators be located?” Many of us who live in rural Nebraska live here because we enjoy the peace and quiet and the incredible views of the rural landscape. This can be disrupted when these towers are built. I wish the Commissioners luck as they try to find the right balance.

On a side note, it is no secret that I am not a fan of wind energy. Besides being one of the most expensive sources of power (without tax subsidies), the impact on wildlife and landscape is significant. Additionally, wind generators are expensive to build, transport, and operate. They also have a limited life span which also raises the question of how and where to dispose of them once they have reached the end of their life.

To be sure, energy diversification is important, and we cannot only rely on fossil fuels as our primary sources of “reliable” and low-cost energy. I hope we continue to explore a wide variety of alternatives. For example, “Small Nuclear” energy facilities and large-scale “Sodium Cooled Reactors” like the one under construction in Kemmerer, Wyoming can provide safe sources of energy at a low cost. These types of facilities can also take advantage of existing infrastructure, like Gerald Gentleman Station. We are very blessed to have such a significant energy facility in our area, and keeping this plant in place will continue to be one of my highest priorities in the Legislature. The quality employment base and the positive impact that this plant has on economic development in this area is overwhelming.

Please continue to contact me on this and other issues at, or feel free to call my office at 402-471-2729. My door is always open!

Sen. Mike Jacobson

District 42
Room 1523
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2729
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