Yesterday afternoon Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman, introduced with the aid of State Senators Brad Ashford, and Beau McCoy, a tax reform plan, that seeks to remove the state income tax, and the corporate tax, I believe the same thing was done in Alabama, and I’m pretty sure they are still having some economic hardships in the south.
Nebraska stands at a 3.8% unemployment rate still second lowest in the United States, while the Lincoln Metropolitan Statistical Area is the only portion of the state to have increased in the number of unemployed people, the state still is doing exceptionally well, compared to states like New York, and California. But since New York’s Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, and California’s Governor Jerry Brown, have gotten their state finances in order, and fixed many issues within their states Nebraska is looking less and less attractive to corporations, and even people for that matter.
During the 2013 State of the State address the governor gave many interesting rankings, done by numerous agencies across the nation. But he also emphasized that younger Nebraskans like myself don’t stay in Nebraska because we are to highly taxed, I’m here to tell you that’s not true, Nebraska offers very little compared to a state like New York, in the areas of opportunities for it’s younger citizens, while we may have one of the best college system’s in the nation, and an 86% high school graduation rate, we have little to offer a person fresh out of college, and or high school for that matter. I agree with the governor that we need to implement a tuition freeze for state colleges, but we also need to do so for state community colleges who have seen rises in their attendance since the start of the economic recession that began in 2008.
The only reason this governor, or these lawmakers are even working on major tax reform is because an institute published an article stating facts that the state has expenditures of $4.1 billion, and a revenue of $3.1 billion, also the fact that for the last 14 legislative sessions aside from 2012, we have had to call a special session in which we have had to balance the budget because we have had a projected shortfall. The governor says we can come up with $5 billion, if we have that much worth of exemptions then why even bother creating new taxes to burden the citizens of the state even more.
Another thing that Nebraska should work on to become more attractive is same-sex rights, we need laws that protect all citizens in the areas of Employment, Housing, and Public accommodations, also granting same-sex couples the right to adopt, and the right to become foster parents means that we can give children just as stable of a home as other children placed into the child welfare system.
We must also begin to fix our failing infrastructure to grow, our airports, rebuild our decaying roads and bridges, implement regulations that make all the dams in the state have emergency plans, that they must advise the residents living around of the dangers, and what to do should a dam have a malfunction of any kind.
Investing more state funds into renewable energy would not only bring, high paying jobs to Nebraska, it would give the state an advantage, because the more power we make from our natural resources, the less we can pollute the planet, we wouldn’t need to burn as much coal, and with more people buying hybrid cars we will not be at the mercy of foreign oil markets, once we have enough energy we can begin to sell it to neighboring states, and lower the cost of public power districts across the state.
My last issue for the moment is the issue of bullying within schools, state law dictates that every school must have a bullying policy in place but it doesn’t state what should be included in that, nor does it hold the teachers or administrators responsible for not doing anything should they see someone being bullied. In creating this we create a safe and stable environment for every student, and we have teachers that show compassion for every student, rather then just the popular one’s or the ones that get the best grades, but a statewide system where everyone is equal. We should also evaluate social studies as we do reading, writing, math, and science, as social studies is an important part of the education system.