NEBRASKA CITY – State Sen. Robert Clements gave Nebraska City Rotarians a review of his first, rushed Legislative session for District 2.
Clements, an Elmwood banker and longtime Republican, was appointed by Gov. Pete Ricketts in February and was sworn in a day later with his wife Peggy attending.
He described the challenge of taking office with over 600 bills already proposed in the Legislature and his role on an appropriations committee that faced projections of revenue shortfalls as it worked on the state’s $9 billion, two-year budget.
Clements: “So it was a culture shock for me to suddenly have all these people, not quite begging for money, but justifying their budget. Where, before that, I was interested in what was going on in the state, but I was suddenly a big part of it.”
He said most of the budgets for the state’s 93 agencies were cut or held steady, but there were increases for the department of corrections and judicial system.
Clements said he supported the governor on a number of proposals including his initiative for property tax reform and an income tax cut.
He said the income tax cut would only be effective if the state economy grew and said the governor rightly proposed valuing farmland for tax purposes on its income-producing potential rather than on market sales.
Clements: “As a banker I can tell you, it’s selling for twice what it can earn. Our area is $7,000 an acre sale price. We’ll loan $3,500 an acre because that is all it will really support.”
Clements, who was not among the 35 people who applied for the senate seat, said he intends to seek election when the term expires.