A bureaucratic glitch has been resolved and the billion dollar construction of a new United States Strategic Command headquarters in Nebraska can move forward, without delay.
A change of a form required by the Department of Revenue should resolve a tax issue that has delayed the construction of the new billion-dollar STRATCOM headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha. The change ensures contractors won’t pay $15-to-18 million in state sales taxes on materials and the federal government won’t be held liable if the contractor gets sued.
Sen. Health Mello of Omaha tells Nebraska Radio Network that it took a lot of meetings to reach this result.
“I think we’re all very relieved that we were able to find a resolution to this that, as I said before, helps insure the STRATCOM project moves forward without any interference at all from the state of Nebraska,” Mello says.
Congress has approved $120 million to begin construction near Bellevue, but construction has been delayed for four months in a tax dispute between the state and federal government. The United States Army Corps of Engineers will manage the project, but refused to sign a form required by the Department of Revenue to exempt material purchased from state sales tax. The Corps claimed the form might make the federal government liable in litigation arising from the actions of the general contractor. The department is adjusting the form to pacify the Corps’ concerns.
The issue was seen as so important it brought United States Sen. Ben Nelson to the Capitol to testify before the legislative Revenue Committee, urging the state to fix the problem. Nelson testified that the problem must be resolved quickly so the new headquarters can be built.
“Which is crucial to our national security,” Nelson told the committee, “we talk about economic development, but we’re also focused on our national security here, because every day there are more cyber-attacks on our businesses, on our government and on private individuals that we’re experiencing.”
The STRATCOM headquarters employs 10,000 military and 22,000 civilian jobs, generated $1.7 billion in economic activity to the state each year. The current headquarters was built in 1957. Its mission has expanded over the years.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:40]