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Sen. Mike Groene

Sen. Mike Groene

District 42

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Home District Column 10/12/2016
October 13th, 2016

Three Nebraska football players’ recent display of kneeling during the National Anthem was a misdirected and misinformed action on their part.   Why? Because there has not been any substantial reports of police misbehavior, profiling, intimidation, or let alone shooting of unarmed citizens by Nebraska’s police officers. When those players are wearing a Nebraska Football Uniform on game day, they represent all of Nebraska. The perception was given by them, to the nation, that Nebraska has a noticeable racist element in our police force.   Considering the 2015 killing of Omaha police officer Kerrie Orozco, their actions were an undue insult to Nebraska’s police. In fact, Nebraska police officers have shown great restraint, the overwhelming evidence is they risk their lives by waiting until they are fired on or are in danger of being driven over before they react with force. The home states of the players involved are Missouri, Georgia, and Texas.  One would think if they experienced police injustice where they are from, the correct thing to do would be to protest back home.

Nebraska Coach Mike Riley has lived in Nebraska for almost two years; I assume he considers himself a Nebraska citizen.  He has of yet to register to vote in Lancaster County.  He supported the players’ behavior, as freedom of speech; perhaps the coach’s decision to not register to vote is his form of protest.  I would think the Coach now has a great opportunity for a teaching moment in citizenship by taking a moment out of his all-important task of winning football games and fill out a voter registration card in front of the team.

Housing crisis?: I have heard from a few special interest groups supporting expansion of tax incentives for middle class housing projects. I don’t see the need.  A healthy housing market should have a steady demand that matches or exceeds availability, to maintain existing homeowner values and assure rental property owners that their efforts to supply reasonable but profitable rental housing are rewarded. We now have that market in Lincoln County.

Local contractor businesses are booked.  There is a need for more qualified construction workers, normally workers from presently depressed businesses (oil and gas) would migrate to construction. Free market principles would indicate that to fill demand, the Local Chambers of Commerce and Banking Interest would be encouraging startup businesses in the home building sector. The employers I have heard of who are concerned about available housing ironically, are those that do not pay property taxes on their place of business–in the education and medical fields. Sorry, but if you make a better salary because your employer does not pay burdensome property taxes, you should contribute to the tax-base by paying  taxes on the full value of your home. In their defense, I have not had one individual medical or educational employee ask for special preference. In fact, I have had no average citizens seeking government involvement in building middle class housing. The entire fabrication of a housing shortage and the need for government action has come from the business interest in banking and real-estate speculation that would initially profit from property tax avoidance programs.  Sidney, Nebraska with the Cabela’s upheaval would love to have Lincoln County’s housing market.

$833 is the monthly payment on a $180,000 30 year mortgage with a 3.75% interest rate. The escrow payment to cover the $3,887 property tax bill in North Platte is $324, nearly equal to 39% of the loan payment.  If local officials want to lower the tax burden for all, they could expand the tax base by making sure all owners of private property pay their full share of property taxes to support our public institutions. More to the point, they should concentrate on controlling government spending. If they did, they would not need to or have time to play venture capitalist in the housing market by manipulating our property tax base.

Property taxes are burdensome for all of us. Whenever government picks winners and losers, as to who pays them, the result is, the rest of us have to pay more to maintain necessary public services.

Please do not hesitate to contact my office or 402-471-2729 with any comments, questions, or concerns.

Sen. Mike Groene

District 42
Room #1107
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2729
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