11 Aug Big winners emerge from grand legislative bargain
By Don Walton, Lincoln Journal Star —
No way this reporter would have bet that the Legislature would reach agreement on a new property tax reduction plan this year.
I’d have told you it couldn’t get the necessary 33 votes to hurdle a filibuster.
It got 43 last Wednesday night — so, uh, maybe I was right.
One hurdle cleared, two to go.
There are some big winners here.
* Lou Ann Linehan, dogged and determined and relentless, ready and willing to change course more than once to achieve her goal of property tax relief.
* Tom Briese, whose hardball strategy of connecting the fate of new business development tax incentives to additional property tax relief worked — with a pledge of state funding support for the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s pandemic-related super-project later added as another hostage.
* John Stinner, who leveraged a commitment to restore the state’s rainy day fund along with some budgetary support assurances to protect future spending for state programs and services in helping negotiate an agreement.
* Jim Scheer, who brought the successful negotiating team together, scoring perhaps the biggest victory of his Speakership, which ends this year.
* Mark Kolterman, who pitched a doubleheader, patiently gathering support and then waiting out the storm to win adoption of a new business development tax incentives package and a pledge of state funding support for the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s exciting, game-changing project.
And now this struggling 2020 Legislature, plagued by a pandemic and sometimes veering off into some spectacular middle school moments, is set to go home with a bang.
They’ll be back in five months with some new riders ready to saddle up and begin their adventures in this one-of-a-kind, nonpartisan, one-house Legislature where everyone counts.