Community Development News

Now is the time for the Legislature to step up on broadband

An overreliance on faulty data may be leaving thousands of rural Nebraska households out of the digital age. Twice per year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) collects broadband access data through Form 477 from internet service providers. This data has a host of problems and can severely overestimate broadband access.

Many Nebraskans are being left behind because of this inaccurate information. Meanwhile, state and local governments are using this information as a primary source to distribute their limited resources—something it was never intended to be used as.

USDA broadband initiative provides hope, ignores major barrier

Across rural America, communities are increasingly depending on high-speed internet to complete an education, talk to their doctors, or adopt the latest farm technology. Meanwhile, access to broadband internet speeds has become a necessity in today’s digital economy. If businesses wish to compete with one another, a strong online presence has become a requirement, not a luxury. As we advance deeper into the 21st century, access to broadband will continue to be an important indicator of quality of life for communities across the nation.

Government program helps preserve communities; serves as example for other states

Driving down main streets in many Nebraska communities offers a similar view – old, brick buildings line the street, interspersed among newer, modern facades. Some are well maintained while others are falling into disrepair – which some local residents are rallying to save.  

Years ago, these structures housed the offices of doctors, lawyers, and dentists on the second floor; while the main floor was home to hardware stores, clothing shops, bakeries, drug stores, and more. Every square inch was dedicated to continuing a thriving town economy.

Nebraska Property Tax Relief: Is Rickett’s Plan the Solution?

As they work to determine the best way to bring property-tax relief to Nebraskans, state lawmakers are debating a bill this week backed by Gov. Pete Ricketts. 

Legislative Bill 947 would create a refundable tax credit for agricultural and homeowner property taxes that would grow over time and reduces the top corporate income tax rate about one percentage point over five years. While the measure outlines some property-tax relief, critics say it is nominal for residential property owners and does little to help agricultural landowners now. 

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