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As August comes to a close, I think about all of the events I have missed this summer: The parades, the festivals, the community celebrations, and especially the county fairs.
These events have always presented me with an ideal opportunity to listen to the public and to get ideas for new legislation from the constituents of Legislative District 47.
No one knows what our state needs more than its citizens. The best ideas are the ones that make people’s lives better, and I have found that these often come from ordinary folks.
One such idea came about when I was at the 2016 Paxton Labor Day Parade. There had been a fire north of Lake McConaughy that destroyed several homes and structures. Some of the properties had seen a valuation increase even though the buildings had burned down.
The Nebraska State Statute at that time said that whatever was the value of a person’s property on January 1st at 12:01 a.m. determined what he or she would pay in property taxes for the entire year. I didn’t think that was right.
That incident gave me an idea for changing the tax code. So, I set out to change the law in order to provide a tax break to those who experienced these kinds of setbacks, especially early in the year. So, last year I introduced legislation, which became a law in Nebraska. This bill allows for a valuation decrease if your property sustains at least a 20 percent loss before July 1st. So, the idea for this bill came to me simply by marching in a parade.
I was unable to attend the county fairs this year because the State Legislature reconvened during the summer to complete the last 17 days of its 60 day Legislative session. This kept me away from the Panhandle from July 20 through August 13.
I feel that I have missed a significant part of the summer this year. These social events are very beneficial to our wellbeing as Nebraskans. We are much better off physically, mentally and spiritually when we get out to visit with friends and celebrate the blessings of liberty that God has bestowed upon us all. We should always set aside some time to enjoy living in the greatest country on earth.
Please join me in praying for rain to clear the air and to help put out the fires that are burning out of control in the western United States. The air quality is so bad in Wyoming that tourists cannot see the Grand Tetons from Grand Teton National Park! We also need rain to replenish our water supplies and to provide much needed moisture for the farmers as they plant their fall crops.
Thank you for reading!