The 2023 Nebraska legislative session was a pivotal time for lawmakers to address issues, shape policies and make decisions impacting the lives of all Nebraskans. This year’s session included pieces of legislation aligning with our 2023 Chamber policy agenda, our Vitality Lincoln strategic plan and priorities outlined by our community consensus group, which included Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird, members of the Lincoln/Lancaster County delegate of state senators and other business leaders.
Several key legislative issues, included:
Tax Competitiveness – As a top business advocacy objective throughout the past several sessions, state elected leaders have made great progress on our state tax competitiveness, including both individual and corporate income tax relief and property tax relief. This year, our state leaders identified a path forward that delivers accelerated tax relief for Nebraskans, including the exemption of social security income from tax, which has been a central objective of our Chamber tax reform agenda. Governor Jim Pillen’s tax plan will position our state among other lower-tax states, ensuring Nebraska remains competitive for jobs, talent recruitment and ongoing economic vitality.
State Funding for a Downtown Convention Center – Backed by support from the Lincoln Chamber, Visit Lincoln, Downtown Lincoln Association, Downtown Rotary and other partners, funding for a downtown convention center was another key objective. Together, our community consensus committee lobbied to re-activate the Convention Center Facility Financing Assistance Act, which would return a significant amount of state sales tax revenues derived by sources near the new development. As outlined in our Vitality Lincoln strategy and supported by the results of a recently commissioned feasibility study, adding a downtown convention center would have a significant economic impact on our local economy and tourism.
Secondary Source of Water – This session also included the introduction of several bills, known as Water 2.0, to meet the long-term need of securing a secondary water source. The final recommendation of the Water Source Advisory Council was to secure a well-field to draw ground water from the Missouri River. The Lincoln Chamber board of directors adopted a support position for this recommendation shortly after it was announced, as it is critically important to the long-term sustainability of our community.
Affordable Housing – Several bills were introduced to address our shortage of affordable housing, aiming to increase the funding of affordable housing programs, provide incentives for developers to build affordable housing units and improve accessibility for individuals with disabilities. Prioritizing affordable housing is crucial to the ongoing growth of our community, impacting our ability to recruit professionals and fill our talent pipeline.
On behalf of our Chamber team and board of directors, I extend my sincere gratitude to both our local and state elected officials for their commitment to ensuring our state remains a great place to work and do business. To learn more about our Chamber policy agendas and our Vitality Lincoln strategic plan, please visit our website at lcoc.com.