First National Bank’s Rich Herink elected 2018 chair, Great Plains’ Todd Foje is chair-elect
Lincoln, Ne. — The Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry has announced its 2018 major legislative objectives as approved by the chamber’s board of directors. Some of the State Chamber’s key legislative priorities for the new year include:
Income Tax Relief & Economic Competitiveness. Currently, Nebraska’s maximum individual income tax rate is 6.84% – the nation’s 15th highest – on earnings just above $29,000. Nebraska’s top corporate tax rate is 7.81%, also 15th worst in the nation. The state’s high income tax burden has negatively affected economic growth and job creation, making the Cornhusker State less competitive. The State Chamber will support efforts to lower Nebraska’s highest individual income tax rate, as well initiatives to harmonize the corporate tax rate with the individual income tax structure. The chamber will oppose efforts to increase state sales and income taxes, as well as legislation that would expand the state sales tax base on business inputs or further earmark tax revenue for specific spending programs.
Workforce Development. A recent chamber survey of Nebraska’s business leaders found that eight in 10 respondents said their community or business faced a workforce shortage, with skilled labor being highest in demand. Because Nebraska’s growth depends on its talent supply, the chamber will support policies and programs aimed at growing, educating and improving Nebraska’s workforce. Specifically, the chamber recognizes the value of the state’s Intern NE program and customized job training, as well as career academies that focus on specific vocational skills in high school and junior high. Also, the chamber will support reciprocal state licensure and certification recognition, as well as efforts to recruit new workers to Nebraska.
Housing Availability. In recent years, a majority of Nebraska communities have experienced a shortage of available housing, regardless of price level. The chamber supports efforts to encourage more private sector development of housing; to incent Nebraska residents to invest in new housing; and to encourage more public/private partnership initiatives to expand Nebraska’s housing stock.
Efficiency in Government. The chamber will support initiatives to improve the delivery of public services and the overall efficiency of state and local government. This includes the elimination of unnecessary services and programs; the restraint or reduction of state and local government spending; and the improvement of public employee capacity and output. The chamber will also support further implementation of laws allowing voluntary mergers of government entities.
In addition to approving the Nebraska Chamber’s major legislative objectives, the board of directors also confirmed the election of the association’s leadership for the new year. Rich Herink of Lincoln, market president of First National Bank, will serve as the chamber’s 2018 chairman. He officially begins his duties February 1 at the chamber’s annual meeting in Lincoln. Herink succeeds Dirk Petersen, retired vice president and general manager of Nucor Steel in Norfolk and current partner at Flood Communications. Todd Foje, CEO of Great Plains Communications of Blair, will serve as the chamber’s chair-elect.