Members of the South Platte United Chambers of Commerce previewed the Nebraska Legislature’s 2019 session in Holdrege on Tuesday, December 11. In attendance were Lieutenant Governor Mike Foley, State Chamber Vice President and General Counsel Ron Sedlacek, and State Chamber Vice President for Public Affairs and Policy Jamie Karl. Derek Rusher, President and CEO of the Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce, was in attendance.
During the Legislative Session, the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce announced its 2019 major legislative objectives. Three priorities were set: workforce development, tax relief with a push for economic competitiveness, and increased support for initiatives to improve the delivery of public services and the overall efficiency of state and local government. The State Chamber recognizes that many Nebraska communities or businesses face a workforce shortage. The Chamber proposes to support policies and programs aimed at growing, educating and improving Nebraska’s workforce, and to support reciprocal state licensure and certification recognition, as well as efforts to recruit new workers to Nebraska.
Part of the issue with economic growth and recruiting workers to Nebraska exists with the high income tax burden. According to the State Chamber, “Nebraska’s top individual income tax rate is 6.84% – the nation’s 15th highest – on earnings just above $30,000. Nebraska’s maximum corporate tax rate is 7.81%, also 15th highest in the country.” The Chamber supports efforts to lower Nebraska’s individual income tax rate and opposes efforts to increase state sales and income tax rates. The Chamber supports the elimination of unnecessary government services and programs, the restraint of state and local government spending, and the improvement of public employee efficiency. It is important to provide streamlined efficiency at all levels of government services.
In addition to approving the 2019 major legislative objectives, the Nebraska Chamber Board of Directors confirmed the leadership elections for 2019. Todd Foje, CEO of Great Plains Communications of Blair, will serve as the State Chamber’s 2019 chairman. He will succeed 2018 Chairman Rich Herink of Lincoln, market executive of First National Bank. DJ Eihusen, chairman and CEO of Chief Industries in Grand Island, will be the Nebraska Chamber’s chair-elect.