Community Development News

A once-in-a-generation opportunity for tax reform and education funding 

LB 1084, Sen. Tom Briese’s combined property tax relief and school funding bill, is a once-in-a-generation opportunity. Let me explain this bold statement.

In the mid-1960s, two generations ago, the state of Nebraska ended statewide property tax. At about the same time, the state began collecting both sales and income taxes. These were all bold moves for generating income for the state.

Recognizing the importance of SNAP in rural Nebraska

In our state’s rural communities, where the food that feeds the world is grown, food insecurity is endured by thousands of children, seniors, and hardworking Nebraskans. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps stave off hunger for 1 in 11 Nebraskans.

Yet, the president’s 2019 budget outlines a nearly $214 billion cut to SNAP over the next decade. A cut of this magnitude would undoubtedly impact rural Nebraskans.

From the desk of the executive director: Where have all the bankers gone?

The Center for Rural Affairs first examined consolidation in the banking industry in a 1978 report, “Where Have All the Bankers Gone?”. We have long understood the critical link between credit, who has access, who doesn’t, and how it shapes communities.

That’s why a recent report in the Wall Street Journal caught my eye. It detailed how banking in rural communities has fared in the years since the financial crisis. 

Proposed tax legislation places burden on rural residents, relief to wealthy

The governor’s tax plan, LB 947, should be recognized for its attempt to address Nebraska's property tax challenge. However, this plan does little to bring balance and sound tax policy change to the state’s tax system.

By giving permanence and prioritization to income tax cuts for our state’s highest earners and corporations, rural Nebraska’s property tax plight remains secondary, and leaves residents reeling from continued cuts to health care, education, and public services.

To close the digital divide, it must first be identified

Despite the potential for broadband to modernize the economy in rural America, access and availability continue to lag. The President’s recent executive order affirmed this limitation and the need to commit resources to close rural America's digital divide.

Yet, the ability to pinpoint where service is and is not available is fundamental to closing the digital divide in rural areas.

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