NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE

The official site of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Steve Erdman

Sen. Steve Erdman

District 47

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 serdman@leg.ne.gov

Welcome
January 6th, 2021

Thank you for visiting my website. It is an honor to represent the people of the 47th 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.

Sincerely,
Sen. Steve Erdman

Straight Talk From Steve…
March 5th, 2021

 

Our National Motto, “In God We Trust,” plays a very rich role in American history. The motto first appeared in the fourth stanza of our National Anthem, “The Star Bangled Banner” back when Francis Scott Key first wrote the lyrics to the song on September 14, 1814 following the War of 1812. That line in the song says, “And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust.’”

The phrase first occurred on minted coins back in 1864, but it did not appear on paper money until President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it into law as our National Motto on July 30, 1956. Since then, Congress has reaffirmed the phrase, “In God We Trust” as our National Motto in 2002 and again in 2011, where the House of Representatives affirmed it by a vote of 396-9 and encouraged states to post in public buildings and in public schools.

The National Motto is not being displayed or taught in our public schools. For this reason, I introduced LB 36 this year. This bill requires public schools to display our National Motto in a prominent place or in every classroom, and it requires the Nebraska State Attorney General to defend any school board, any school administrator, or any school teacher against a lawsuit for displaying the National Motto.

The National Motto plays a significant role in our nation’s history and heritage and it needs to be taught to our school children. Unfortunately, atheist groups, who don’t approve of the motto, stand ready to sue any school which tries to post the National Motto or any teacher who tries to teach it to students. Many of our smaller, rural school districts simply cannot afford a lawsuit of this nature, so that is why I wrote the bill in such a way that the Attorney General would be obligated to represent the defendant.

My bill is patterned after the Virginia law. Virginia passed a bill requiring their public schools to post the National Motto which was signed into law on May 17, 2002. The Loudoun County School Board in Virginia was promptly sued after they posted the National Motto in their schools. However, the Virginia Attorney General represented the school just as the law said, and the Virginia Supreme Court upheld the law. Every time atheists have filed a lawsuit against our National Motto they have lost in court.

The National Motto is neither a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment nor is it an endorsement of religion. The title ‘God’ may simply refer to a Supreme Being without identifying with any particular religion. Some have argued that it is part of America’s civil religion. But, no court that has acknowledged the existence of a civil religion in America has ever found its activities to be in violation of the First Amendment. Instead, the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that the National Motto is constitutional largely because it is ceremonial and nonsectarian.

Currently, 19 states have laws on the books requiring public schools to display our National Motto. I believe it is time for Nebraska to do the same. Once this bill becomes a law in Nebraska private donors will have the opportunity to defray the costs of the posters or plaques. It is my sincere hope that no school should ever have to shoulder the cost of displaying our National Motto.

Straight Talk From Steve…
February 26th, 2021

 

The second amendment to the United States Constitution says, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” That this right cannot be infringed upon means that no government entity may pass legislation encroaching upon this right, yet that is precisely what so many in the anti-gun lobby want legislators to do.

Today there is an all-out assault on our most basic fundamental rights, especially those contained in the Bill of Rights. Unless these rights and freedoms are vigorously defended, a police state will likely ensue. These rights and liberties were articulated in the Bill of Rights by our Founding Fathers for the very purpose of thwarting this kind of tyranny.

For these reasons, I have decided to co-sponsor two bills this year which protect our second amendment rights. Last week I co-signed LB 188 and LB 173. These two bills will help ensure that Nebraskans will be able to enjoy their second amendment rights for many years yet to come.

LB 188 is the Second Amendment Preservation Act. The bill prohibits anyone working for a state agency or a political subdivision to knowingly or willingly enforce any federal law, executive order, rule or regulation regarding firearms, accessories, and ammunition unless it already exists under Nebraska State law. LB 188 would essentially make Nebraska a second amendment sanctuary state.

The United States Supreme Court has already recognized the right of the states to pass this kind of legislation. In Printz v. United States (1997) the ruling of the high court included these words, “The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring states to address particular problems, nor command the State’s officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program.” So, we already know that this bill has constitutional muster.

LB 173 further protects the right of Nebraskans to keep and bear arms. LB 173 protects law abiding gun owners while transporting firearms to a location where they can be lawfully discharged. The bill simply states that the firearm be enclosed in a case, and it defines a case as a hard or soft-sided box, container, receptacle designed for storing firearms, or the manufacture’s original packaging.

In order to show you why this legislation is needed, consider what happens under our current laws. Currently, it is lawful to purchase a firearm, but it is illegal to transport that firearm home from the store in the manufacture’s original packaging. Anyone who purchases a firearm at a sporting goods store and transports that gun home in the manufacturer’s original packaging runs the risk of having that firearm confiscated by police for no other reason than that it was not being properly encased.

LB 173 changes the law so that firearms may be transported by law abiding citizens without getting unduly harassed by police officers or game wardens. Firearms still have to be unloaded during transport and they still have to be encased. LB 173 simply loosens the definition of what constitutes a gun case.

We must never forget that the original purpose of the second amendment was to keep the government subordinate to the people. James Madison provided the original wording for the second amendment, and in Federalist Paper 46, he said to the adversaries of our Constitution, “These gentlemen must here be reminded of their error. They must be told that the ultimate authority, wherever the derivative may be found, resides in the people alone…” The government exists to serve the American people, not the other way around. Protecting the rights and liberties contained in our Constitution is the highest duty of a legislator. May we never forget this most basic and foundational principle of our American republic.

Straight Talk From Steve…
February 19th, 2021

If it is true that every cowboy sings a sad, sad song, then in Nebraska they all sing the same sad song about protesting their property valuation. Protesting property values in Nebraska is like turning a lump of coal into a diamond. If you squeeze the same lump of coal in your hand all the days of your life, all you will end up with is a dirty hand, and if you protest your property valuation every year, all you will end up with is a pile of filing fee receipts. Getting a decision on a property valuation appeal takes too long.

For this reason I introduced LB613 this year. LB613 is a bill that would limit the time that the Tax Equalization and Review Commission has to render a decision on one’s property valuation appeal. The bill says that a hearing must be held within six months after the filing date of the appeal and a decision must be reached within nine months of the date of the appeal; otherwise, the decision defaults in favor of the property owner and a refund must be returned to the property owner within the next 30 days.

Last week a hearing was held at the State Capitol on LB613. Everyone who testified in favor of the bill sang the same sad, sad song about how long it took for the Tax Equalization and Review Commission to render a decision on their case. One individual who testified advised younger generations not to bother with filing appeals because it takes too long. He went so far as to say, “It’s a waste of your time.” Testimonials such as these aptly demonstrate why we have a big problem with property valuations in Nebraska.

The idea for this bill came to me from Brenda Bickford, a resident of Lincoln, who has filed several appeals to the Tax Equalization and Review Commission. Brenda is still waiting to get notice of a hearing for an appeal that she filed back in 2019. Brenda filed another appeal in 2020 and is filing a third appeal this year. No one should ever have to wait three years in order to get a hearing on an appeal filed three years ago.

The fundamental problem lies with how properties get assessed. As Brenda Bickford found out, there is no formula that assessors use to value properties objectively. If there was such a formula, property owners would be able to assess their own properties. Instead, the process of selecting which properties to include in an array for valuing a particular parcel is often subjectively determined by county assessors.

Because the method of assessing properties lends itself to this kind of subjectivity, it has resulted in a flood of cases for the Tax Equalization and Review Commission. To be fair, the Tax Equalization and Review Commission is not properly staffed to deal with the number of cases that are now flooding the system.

LB613 will incentivize county assessors to valuate properties more fairly. Once LB613 becomes law, county assessors won’t want to over-burden the system any longer with appeals. If they do, the system will default in favor of the property owner, which is the way it ought to be.

It is my sincere hope that by introducing this bill justice will be restored to the appeals process. In America we are supposed to value a fair and speedy trial. That’s what the sixth amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees for criminal cases. Why should property valuation appeals be any different? Unfortunately, fairness and timeliness have been missing from our property valuation system far too long. So the time has come to fix the way we protest our property values, and when we do, our cowboys in Nebraska may change their tune and begin to sing a glad, glad song.

Straight Talk From Steve…
February 15th, 2021

Every bill introduced in the Nebraska Legislature gets a fiscal note attached to it. Fiscal notes are usually boring and not much fun to read. Fiscal notes are usually written by budgetary experts working for relevant state agencies and are supposed to explain what kind of fiscal impact the bill would have on the State budget. Usually, fiscal notes are carefully calculated and accurately tell state legislators how much money a bill would cost to the State once it becomes a law. However, fiscal notes are not always written with care and precision. Such was the case last week when I received the fiscal note for my bill, LB468, a bill to compensate landowners for damages caused to their property by wildlife.

LB468 seeks to clarify the meaning of Article 1, Section 21 of the Nebraska State Constitution which says, “The property of no person shall be taken or damaged for public use without just compensation therfor.” The bill clarifies this section of the constitution by requiring the Game and Parks Commission to reimburse landowners for damages caused to their property by wildlife.

The fiscal note on this bill made some very outrageous claims. Some of them were in my favor, while others were grossly distorted facts. For instance, one of the more outlandish claims that the Game and Parks Commission made in the fiscal note was that only 11 mountain lions have caused damages to property over the past 3 years with average losses of only $684 per year. According to the Game and Parks Commission mountain lions only feed on goats and chickens.

Most surprisingly, though, was how the Game and Parks Commission estimated the damages caused to private property by wildlife. In the fiscal note, the Game and Parks Commission had to admit that 75 percent of all landowners in Nebraska suffer damages to their property that are caused by wildlife. This is a point that I have tried to hammer home to them for years, but they have stubbornly refused to admit until now. The mere fact that 75 percent of all landowners suffer damages to their property caused by wildlife ought to be sufficient evidence to make wildlife management the number one priority for the Game and Parks Commission, but it is not. Instead, they prefer to keep growing the herds of antelope, deer and elk.

The most outlandish claim made by the Game and Parks Commission in their fiscal note for LB468 was their estimate for how much it would cost the State of Nebraska to reimburse all of these landowners with property damages caused by wildlife. Their estimate totaled more than $117 million! Once you pick yourself up from the floor and begin reading again, let me simply tell you that this number is wrong.

The figure of $117 million is wrong because the fiscal analyst working for the Game and Parks Commission never bothered to read my companion bill to LB468. At the same time I introduced LB468 on the floor of the Legislature, I also introduced LB469, which is an Appropriations bill stipulating how the State would go about reimbursing these landowners.

According to my companion bill, LB469, the Game and Parks Commission would use $10 million from their Wildlife Conservation fund to reimburse landowners on a pro rata basis. In other words, the $10 million would be spread out among all those filing for property damages throughout the calendar year and paid out on February 1 of the following year. So, the Game and Parks Commission missed the actual number of what it would cost the State of Nebraska to reimburse landowners by $107 million!

I am sad to report how this kind of careless work by the Game and Parks Commission has caused me to question nearly everything they do.

Straight Talk From Steve…
February 5th, 2021

Last Thursday the Legislature’s Natural Resources Committee conducted a hearing on LB562, my bill to relocate the headquarters for the Game and Parks Commission to the City of Sidney. Relocating the Game and Parks Commission to Sidney has proven to be a good idea.

The hearing on this bill went very well. The City of Sidney was well represented at the hearing and presented a very compelling case for moving the headquarters to Sidney. Mayor, Roger Galloway, Vice Mayor, Bob Olson, and City Councilman, Brad Sherman, all made the trip to Lincoln to testify at the public hearing and they did an outstanding job representing the City of Sidney. By the end of the hearing the City of Sidney stood out clearly as the best choice in Nebraska for relocating the headquarters of the Game and Parks Commission.

Contrary to the superlative testimony of those representing the City of Sidney, no one representing the City of Lincoln ever came to testify at the public hearing; instead, the city submitted a lame letter of opposition to the bill. When three people representing the City of Sidney travel 350 miles and endure a five hour car ride to come and testify at the Capitol and present a compelling case for the move, but no one from the City of Lincoln even bothers to show up, it speaks volumes to the committee members of the Natural Resources Committee. One has to wonder whether or not the City of Lincoln even wants the headquarters of the Game and Parks Commission to be in their city?

Moving the headquarters of the Game and Parks Commission to Sidney is not a far out idea. Consider that the headquarters for the Oil and Gas Commission has been located in Sidney for years. The Oil and Gas Commission is located in Sidney because that is where the oil is. In the same way, we need to move the Game and Parks Commission to Sidney because that is where the wildlife live. Keeping the Game and Parks Commission in Lincoln inevitably transforms the organization into the Parks Commission, but not the Game and Parks Commission.

The Game and Parks Commission testified in opposition to LB562 mostly because those who work for the Commission don’t want to move to Sidney. But don’t take my word for it. That is exactly what Deputy Director, Tim McCoy, told the members of the Natural Resources Committee. McCoy’s statement was ironic, especially when you consider that folks from Western Nebraska often have to uproot their families and move to Lincoln or Omaha in order to find work or to stay employed.

The Game and Parks Commission submitted a phony fiscal note claiming that it would cost the State of Nebraska somewhere between $11.5 million to $14.75 million to move the headquarters to Sidney. However, when Tim McCoy was challenged on these obviously bloated figures, he could not defend the Commission’s numbers. Afterwards, in a separate hearing on LB668, he revised those numbers, admitting that the earlier numbers he had used were 12 times higher than what they should have been.

The hearing on LB562 went so well that I have started thinking about what other state agencies should be relocated to Western Nebraska. In my humble opinion, it appears that the City of Lincoln does not want these state employees living and working in their city. So, the time has come to begin thinking about which other state agencies should be relocated to Western Nebraska. Perhaps, it is time for the State of Nebraska to purchase all of Cabela’s abandoned buildings and begin filling them with state employees!

Straight Talk From Steve…
February 5th, 2021

Last week the Legislature held a hearing on my bill, LB164, a bill to give local governments of towns with populations in excess of 500 people authority to change speed limits whenever hazardous conditions exist.

I first introduced this bill last year, but the Transportation Committee never advanced it. Last year I came to the Transportation Committee with letters of support from the City of Oshkosh as well as a petition signed by 100 local residents concerning the hazardous conditions along State Highway 26 in Oshkosh.

On Monday I told the members of the Transportation Committee that I had contacted the folks in Oshkosh again this year and asked if they would like to submit letters of support for the bill as they did the last year, but this time they declined. I told the Transportation Committee, “The people of Oshkosh declined because they told me you can only be told to sit down and shut up so many times before you give up.” And so, they didn’t believe that it would do them any good to write more letters or call more people or get involved. They may have given up, but I have not.

The Nebraska Department of Transportation has tossed all logic and common sense out of the window when it comes to setting speed limits. But, you don’t have to take my word on this because that is exactly what Moe Jamshidi, the Director of the Department of Transportation, told the committee members as he touted the virtues of the Department’s own engineering studies. According to Jamshidi, the Department of Transportation’s own engineering studies take precedence over common sense. For instance, he told the committee, “While it might seem like common sense, it’s not always true that lower speed limits reduce the number of crashes.”

The Department of Transportation’s reliance upon engineering studies is fraught with problems. When the Department of Transportation conducts an engineering study in Western Nebraska, they pay a traffic engineer as much as $20,000 to sit in a pick-up truck along the highway for a few hours to observe the flow of traffic and write up a report. That’s how they do it. And somehow this engineer’s word about traffic conditions carries more weight than the people who live, work and play in the area.

The fact of the matter is that speed limits along state highways are arbitrarily determined. I pointed this fact out in the hearing by showing the committee members aerial pictures of highway 26 in Oshkosh and comparing to aerial pictures of Lewellen. In Oshkosh, where the speed limit is 45 mph, the road cuts through the town, bends, and has businesses located on both sides of the road. However, in Lewellen, where the speed limit is only 40 mph, the road moves along the perimeter of the town, is straight, and has railroad tracks with no businesses on one side of the road. So, the fact that Lewellen has a slower speed limit than Oshkosh proves my point that speed limits are arbitrarily determined.

I introduced LB164 in order to change Nebraska nonsensical way of setting speed limits. Logic and common sense are not dead…yet. The people who live in Oshkosh know where the hazardous conditions lie, and they know that the current speed limit of 45 mph is too high.

I sincerely hope that the Legislature’s Transportation Committee advances LB164 out of committee and up to the floor of the Unicameral for debate. I look forward to debating this bill on General File because I have more hope for logic and common sense to prevail in the State Legislature than I do in the Nebraska Department of Transportation.

Straight Talk From Steve…
January 29th, 2021

One bill that I will support this year is LB364, which creates the Opportunity Scholarships Act. Under this Act individual and corporate taxpayers would qualify for a non-refundable tax credit on the income tax returns that is equal to the amount that the taxpayer contributes to a scholarship-granting organization. However, taxpayers would be limited to an amount up to 50 percent of their state income tax liability.

Those organizations providing scholarships would become certified by the Nebraska Department of Revenue and the scholarships would apply to any private elementary or secondary school.
The Act defines an eligible student as a dependent member of a household which qualifies for free or reduced lunches during the school year prior to applying for the scholarship.

The Act would take effect January 1, 2022 and would cap scholarships at $10 million annually. The income tax credits would be awarded in the order in which they are received until the $10 million cap is reached.

LB364 provides a unique way for low-income students to receive a private school education that their families otherwise would not be able to afford. One size does not fit all, and public schools are not the answer for every student. Sometimes a students who needs an alternative school cannot afford to attend one. The Opportunity Scholarships Act would provide the means for these students to get the kind of instruction they need, but would not be available to wealthy or even middleclass families.

The Opportunities Scholarship Act would not affect funding for public schools. Because the tax credit applies to the state Income tax, instead of the property tax, public schools would not be affected directly by the program.

LB364 is a good educational bill, which deserves our support. This is why I decided to co-sign this bill.

Straight Talk From Steve…
January 22nd, 2021

Nebraska’s tax system is completely broken. Nebraska is the worst state in the nation for the inheritance tax, the seventh worst state for property taxes and only Wisconsin beats Nebraska in terms of the number of farm and ranch bankruptcies. By now, many property owners have figured out that last year’s big property tax relief bill, LB1107, was nothing more than a slight decrease in the amount that property taxes increased this year, and this is how things will continue to be unless we overhaul the entire system.

No small plan ever had the power to stir the soul. So, this year I introduced LR11CA and LB133 for the consumption tax. The first piece of legislation is a resolution for a constitutional amendment to change our tax system; the second is a bill to direct the legislature in how to implement the consumption tax. LB133 re-writes the tax code. Public hearings will be held at the Capitol on both pieces of legislation on February 3.

My legislation is known as the EPIC Consumption Tax Act, where the word EPIC is an acronym which stands for the elimination of Property, Income and Corporate taxes. My legislation will repeal the state income tax, the state sales tax, the state inheritance tax and all property taxes and replace them all with a consumption tax.

The consumption tax prevents double taxation. The consumption tax would tax services and new goods. Used goods would never get taxed, because goods should only get taxed once. Imagine buying a used car or a used boat and paying no taxes on the purchase!

The real beauty of the consumption tax, though, is that it prevents over-taxation. It is the one tax that the taxpayer can control. If you don’t want to pay the tax, don’t go shopping. Moreover, the consumption tax ties government taxation to the economy. The government only gets more money to spend when consumers spend more of their own money first. Alexander Hamilton favored the consumption tax above all other forms of taxation in Federalist Paper 21 precisely because it controls this kind of over-taxation. Hamilton said, “It is a signal advantage of taxes on articles of consumption that they contain in their own nature a security against excess.”

Under the consumption tax, those living at or below the federal poverty rate would make no net contributions in taxes to the state. The reason is that the consumption tax comes with a monthly allowance or pre-bate which covers a person’s consumption taxes up to the federal poverty level. This is money that the state deposits into a person’s bank account or on a smart card each month. Every person living in Nebraska would get the monthly allowance, so the state would only keep consumption taxes on what each person spends above the federal poverty rate. Because everyone would get the monthly allowance, the consumption tax is sometimes referred to as the Fair Tax.

One of the concerns often raised about the consumption tax is called border bleed. Some worry that folks living in Omaha would buy their goods in Council Bluffs in order to avoid paying Nebraska’s consumption tax. But the argument from border bleed overlooks the fact that goods in Nebraska would come with a cheaper price tag than goods in Iowa. For instance, a can of motor oil in Nebraska might sell for 95 cents without all of the hidden taxes included, giving it a final cost $1.03 with the consumption tax. However, in Iowa that same can of motor oil would sell for $1.00 because of all of the hidden taxes, and after you tack on their sales tax, the final cost to the consumer would be $1.08. So, why would folks in Omaha travel to Iowa to spend more of their hard earned money?

The consumption tax would make Nebraska the envy of the nation! The consumption tax would elevate Nebraska to being the best state in the Union for taxation. Both businesses and individuals would want to move to Nebraska because of our new tax code. As Nebraska State Senator Steve Halloran of Hastings once remarked about the consumption tax, “We would have to build a wall around Nebraska to keep the people out, and Colorado would pay for it.”

Straight Talk From Steve…
January 15th, 2021

 

This week I will introduce a bill to move the headquarters of the Game and Parks Department to the City of Sidney. Currently, state law mandates that the headquarters for the Game and Parks Department be in the City of Lincoln. I would like to change that. So today I would like to explain why I believe this move is good for Nebraska.

First, there are no state parks located in the City of Lincoln, just as there are no state parks located in the City of Sidney. So, proximity to state parks has never been nor should it ever be used as a criteria for deciding where to locate the headquarters for the Game and Parks Department.

Second, the Game and Parks Department does a lot more than manage our state parks. Most importantly, they are responsible for managing the wildlife in Nebraska. As many of my readers know, wildlife in Western Nebraska has become a major problem. Antelope, deer, and elk herds have grown too large and are wreaking havoc on crops, fences, and even land. Many of the noxious weeds we see spreading across Western Nebraska are attributable to large and unmanaged herds of antelope.

Because those who head the Game and Parks Department live and work in Lincoln, they often seem oblivious to the problems of Western Nebraska, especially the problem of unmanaged wildlife which has been brewing for many years now. Because those who lead the Game and Parks Department never encounter uncountable antelope herds, or see the widespread damage caused by an out-of-control elk population, or get Canadian thistle growing in their yards, the old maxim rings true: “Out of sight, Out of Mind.” So, in order to bring greater awareness of what is happening to landowners in Western Nebraska, I am proposing to move those who are most responsible for managing our wildlife closer to where the problems actually exist.

Third, state parks in Western Nebraska do not get the same attention that state parks in Eastern Nebraska get. There is a huge disparity between our state parks and those in the eastern part of the state. Consider Mahoney State Park for example. Mahoney State Park has an aquatic center, an indoor playground, a treetops ropes course, an observation tower, and even an indoor rock climbing wall. In addition, the Peter Kiewit Lodge offers 40 guest rooms, many of which have balconies offering stunning views of the Platte River. None of the parks in Western Nebraska have these kinds of attractions.

The fourth reason for moving the headquarters of the Game and Parks Department to Sidney relates to money. Whenever you drive to Lincoln on I-80 and you get near Lincoln, if you roll down your window you can smell taxes. The Game and Parks Department is no different. The Game and Parks Department collects thousands of dollars in fees every year. These fees range from campsite fees to hunting and fishing license fees to park entrance fees. When these fees are collected in Western Nebraska they go straight to Lincoln. Very seldom do we ever see any of it come back our way.

When those employed by the Game and Parks Department go home at night or for the weekend, they spend their money in the City of Lincoln, not Sidney. Whenever they go to the store, go to the movies, or go out to dinner, they put their money into Lincoln’s economy, yet the City of Lincoln has very little to do with wildlife, state parks, outdoor recreation, or hunting and fishing. Consequently, it seems to me that those responsible for managing our game and parks ought to spend their hard earned dollars where Nebraska’s game and parks actually exist.

Finally, the City of Sidney still has plenty of unused office space for rent at very affordable prices. Ever since Cabela’s got bought out by Bass Pro Shops back in October 2016, many of their offices have sat empty. I can’t think of a better use of these facilities than to house personnel working for the Game and Parks Department.

Straight Talk From Steve…
January 8th, 2021

The 107th Legislative Session has now begun. I will continue to serve on the Appropriations Committee, and strive to bring common sense to how we spend your money. This year I will be introducing a total of 12 bills, and today I would like to tell you about a few of them that I consider to be very important for our state.

Ever since I came to Lincoln four years ago to serve as a State Senator my number one priority has been to lower property taxes. Since this time very little has been done to deliver significant and meaningful property tax relief to the citizens of Nebraska, and the problem has only grown worse. Today Nebraska ranks as the seventh worst state for property taxes, second in the nation for farm and ranch bankruptcies, and worst in the nation for inheritance taxes.

In order to solve our tax problem I introduced two pieces of legislation on the opening day of the 107th Legislative Session. The first piece of legislation is a resolution for a constitutional amendment to be put on the ballot for the year 2022, allowing the voters of Nebraska to amend the State Constitution for the consumption tax. The second piece of legislation I introduced was a companion bill which explains how to implement the consumption tax.

The consumption tax legislation that I introduced is called the EPIC Consumption Tax Act, where the word EPIC is an acronym which stands for the Elimination of Property, Income, and Corporate taxes. The bill will repeal Nebraska’s income tax, property tax, sales tax, and inheritance tax and replace them all with a consumption tax. The consumption tax would apply to the purchasing of services and new goods, but used goods would be exempt.

By repealing these four taxes, and replacing them with a consumption tax, Nebraska will become the most attractive state to live in. The consumption tax just might cause Tesla to reconsider moving to Texas!

Another bill that I introduced last week is a bill to put our national motto, “In God We Trust” back into our public schools. Children need to know our national motto. Without this common sense legislation it won’t happen. School boards, administrators, principals and teachers have all become afraid to talk about our national motto due to numerous lawsuits from atheist groups who want to remove every semblance of God from our schools. This legislation would promote our godly heritage and remove the threat of these petty lawsuits.

The bill is LB 36, and all it requires is that K-12 public schools display a legible poster of our national motto somewhere in the school where students will see it on a daily basis. When you stop and consider all that our students see, read and learn about today in our public schools, teaching about our national motto becomes one of the most positive things we can do for our students.

Sen. Steve Erdman

District 47
Room 1124
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2616
Email: serdman@leg.ne.gov
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