Business Groups Watching Legislature Closely

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The 103rd Nebraska Legislature will meet Wednesday for the first day of their second session.

Some state senators are already talking about the bills they want to introduce, and will officially submit them during the first 10 days of the session.

Community and business leaders around the state say they'll be watching those bills closely. Cindy Johnson, President of the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce, says they're concerned about tax relief changes that could drive up costs for large and small businesses.

"It's not a one-time only expenditure like building a building or purchasing land, taxes are ongoing, so businesses are always going to be looking at what the tax climate is in the community or in the state to determine if that's a good location," says Johnson.

Johnson says the business community in Grand Island said "no" to Governor Dave Heineman's tax changes during the last session. She says they don't want to see bills like LB 405 and 406, which she says would have cost the manufacturing and health care industries by taxing products that had been exempt, appear again.

Johnson believes debate will continue over how to lower property tax without raising other taxes too much.

"There's a happy medium in there, but the challenge will be for the Legislature and the executive branch to come to agreement on what that happy medium is," she says.

Johnson says business owners will be keeping an eye on state Medicaid expansion plans and costs while they deal with more mandates in federal health care changes.