Nebraska Chamber of Commerce President Barry Kennedy says there’s a lot for legislators to do with little time to waste.
“It will be the short session and there are a lot of major issues out there that are going to probably command a lot of time and attention from the legislature. So, it will be a challenge,” Kennedy tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Kennedy talks of tax reform when he discusses the Chamber’s priorities for the legislative session which begins next week at the Capitol in Lincoln. Yet, he suggests lawmakers might want to shift their focus.
Discussion from nearly everyone centers on property tax relief, the recurring priority issue for the last few legislation sessions. Kennedy, though, insists the rate of property taxes in Nebraska is not a state issue, but a local one.
The Chamber has another tax priority, aimed at helping Nebraska businesses find the workers they need.
“We think income tax probably plays a key role in our ability to attract people to fill those workforce needs,” Kennedy says.
Nebraska is in an enviable position with a state unemployment rate below 3%. A strong state economy spurs a low unemployment rate. A low unemployment rate creates worker shortages. Kennedy calls the workforce challenge the number one issue facing Nebraska businesses.
Kennedy says a cut of the income tax rate would make Nebraska more attractive to employees and cut into the perception that Nebraska is a high tax state.
The Chamber also wants lawmakers to maintain road and bridge funding and reject any attempts to siphon money away from infrastructure needs.
A third priority of the Chamber focuses on lowering the cost of doing business in Nebraska, such as continued reform of the workers compensation program.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]