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2013 Legislative Session will Shape Nebraska’s Future

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by Wendy Birdsall, President Lincoln Chamber of Commerce 402.436.2350

The 2013 legislative session could be the most significant session in decades.  Term limits will bring changes to leadership and committee chairs and new Senators will lend fresh perspectives to debates.

We expect perennial items such as state agency funding, state aid to schools, road and infrastructure funding and Medicaid rules to garner attention.  Topping the headlines for 2013 will be Governor Dave Heineman’s promise of a “bold tax reform proposal.” This proposal could make this the most significant session in decades as we debate Gov. Heineman’s vision for the state.

Nebraska is ranked No. 31 on the Tax Foundation’s business climate tax indices.  The Lincoln Chamber has been in support of state policy changes that would move the state closer to the top and encourage business growth.  Our work at the state legislature has been focused on this task and we have been successful in working with lawmakers to move from No. 45 to No. 31.

Our direction has been backed by our membership.  Policy surveys done at Lincoln Chamber of Commerce events and forums show that 82% of our members agree “it is imperative that Nebraska policy makers continue to work to reduce Nebraska’s tax burden and reform government in order to make our state more competitive and further strengthen our economy.”  In addition to the input of our membership, the Chamber’s Board of Directors adopted the following principles for tax reform in the 2012 legislative session and re-affirmed the commitment this year:

• Tax cut proposals should be growth oriented
• Tax cut proposals should help develop key state strategic objectives (i.e. enhancing state rankings – competitive position for jobs – lessening state tax burden on individuals)
• Tax cut proposals should be sustainable
• Tax cut proposals should improve the fairness and neutrality of the overall system

What do I think is at stake?

The future of our state’s economic health will rely on growth.  If we don’t act now, other states will.  We will continue to see jobs leave our community and with them will be the next generation of workers.  All that will be left is the same number or a shrinking number of people who will see their taxes rise to pay for the same or less government services.

As we move through the lawmaking session, I encourage our Chamber members to take an active role in the Lincoln Chamber’s extensive public policy efforts.  Get informed on key issues by attending our monthly forums, talk with elected officials about your concerns, and support our pro-growth positions with calls, letters, or e-mails to elected leaders.  We’ve made a big difference over the past decade with your help.  We will continue to shape Nebraska’s future business climate with your continued support.


The Chamber’s mission is to improve the lives of Lincoln residents by providing increased economic opportunity and can only be accomplished together.  Networking opportunities, business advocacy, and creating economic viability are critical to our success.  We encourage you to become a member and help us achieve these goals for Lincoln.  For more information, please contact Paul 436-2350.

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