In 1980 when the Lincoln Independent Business Association (LIBA, was started by our founders, their purpose was to give local business owners a voice when it comes to the policies of our community. They felt business owners were without a voice and needed a voice with the policies of the City. Proudly, we continue this focus 42 years later and continue to foster accountability with political subdivisions on behalf of the business community as a voice of reason.

Gas prices in Nebraska continue their surge toward $6 per gallon, and it is no wonder we are seeing historically record-breaking inflation in our country. When you think about where our food, clothing, and other goods come from, petroleum plays a huge role in the costs of those products. From the fuel for farm vehicles, to the petroleum that goes into fertilizer production, to the semi-trucks that haul commodities and animals to processing plants, it is obvious why food prices continue skyrocketing.

Since all other products in our stores must be moved by truck, higher fuel prices have caused the price of those items in increase accordingly. When you throw in the higher cost of paying employees because of labor shortages, it is clear that in an energy-driven economy we are going to be hurting. The prices of nearly all inputs into housing and commercial construction have increased dramatically in the last two years. With the Federal Reserve Board raising interest rates in June, and another increase likely coming in July, it won’t be long before the housing and commercial real estate markets are significantly affected with higher costs, forcing some consumers and businesses out of the real estate market.

The sad part is that many of these problems have occurred because of misguided government policies that are affecting inflation and higher energy costs. This is why LIBA continues our focus on accountability of political subdivisions. Locally, our political subdivisions are planning and presenting their budgets and we will continue to be at the table to have conversations with our elected officials and communicating these budget plans with our members. LIBA’s mantra since the beginning has been for our members to, “Get into politics, or get out of business.” Those are some tough words, yet they mean so much because the decisions our elected officials make have a big effect on how, when and where companies are able to conduct their business. LIBA has been fighting to be your watchdog on elected officials for 42 years and counting, and we will continue to do that job for local business.

Speaking of being a watchdog on elected officials, LIBA is creating scorecards for our various local elected officials, including the Legislature, City Council, County Board, Lincoln Public Schools Board of Education, Natural Resource District, and others. The scorecards will be shared with our membership. They will display the policies which LIBA has provided public testimony and rate our elected officials on their performance related to policies which have a direct impact on business. Keep an eye out for more information on this in the coming months.

LIBA continues to hold true to our mission to provide leadership and educational opportunities to the business community, and to communicate the concerns of the business community to elected and appointed officials at all levels of local government. We will always stand firm and strong for local businesses by supporting political candidates who understand and promote the free enterprise system.