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Senator Tom Brewer
“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. If we are to guard against ignorance and remain free, it is the responsibility of every American to be informed.” (Thomas Jefferson)
Did you know that twenty-six States have constitutions that allow the people to do an “initiative” and or “referendum” process? Nebraska is one of fourteen States that have BOTH initiative (the people pass a law or constitutional amendment) and referendum (the people veto a law passed by the legislature) Nebraska has had this process in our constitution since 1912.
For a people’s ballot initiative to propose a law, signatures equaling 7% of the registered voters in the state are required. In addition, signatures must be collected from 5% of the registered
voters in 38 of the 93 Nebraska counties. Based on the number of registered voters in the last election, that number is 84,908 “verified” signatures have to be delivered to the Secretary of State by the 7th of July 2018 in order for “the people” to put a measure on the ballot to be decided by “the people” in the November 2018 election.
When the legislature repeatedly fails to act and a problem grows and grows, generation after generation, until it gets so bad it is nearly the very worst in the country, one that is actually hurting people, causing population to out-migrate from the State and businesses to avoid locating here – THE PEOPLE MUST ACT. Thank God we have a constitution that permits it. Twenty-four other States aren’t so lucky. We need to count our blessings and use the tools our constitution provides us.
Of course I am talking about Property Taxes, and the ballot initiative that will lower them by 30%. I’m told the petition will be circulating all across the State, and the signature gathering for this will start very soon. I’m not very hopeful this measure will pass in the legislature this session, so the ballot initiative process is really the only hope.
I know many of you vote. You elect people. You expect them to be sworn into office and do their jobs keeping your best interests in mind. You’re busy and just don’t have the time to stay abreast of the issues and engage in the political process. After all, that’s why you took the time to go to the polls and elect people to do all that so you don’t have to. Ordinarily, I’d like to think this approach generally works. When it comes to lowering property taxes in Nebraska however, the history is crystal clear: Pigs will sprout wings and fly before the legislature will fix this problem.
If you are reading this, the responsibility to fix property taxes in Nebraska rests with you.
Constitutional republics are messy, complicated forms of government that require a lot of civic involvement. Nebraska’s Unicameral, more than any other State with bi-cameral governments, was designed to require even more civic involvement in the political process. George Norris called the people the “2nd House” of our State government.
I believe Property Tax relief will only happen if the 2nd House of the Nebraska Legislature makes it happen. I’ll be helping them. Will you?
Please contact my office with any comments, questions or concerns. Email me at; email@example.com. Mail a letter to; Sen. Tom Brewer, Room #1202, P.O. Box 94604, Lincoln, NE 68509 or call us at (402) 471-2628.