Community Colleges Watching Legislative Revenue Debate

Community Colleges Watching Legislative Revenue Debate
Greg Adams, Executive Director of the Nebraska Community Colleges Association

BEATRICE – Nebraska lawmakers are scheduled to begin debate Friday on a bill to change the way agriculture land is valued for tax purposes.  A lobbyist for Nebraska Community Colleges says LB 461 is the Revenue Committee bill that also includes a proposed income tax rate reduction.

Former Senator and Speaker, Greg Adams, of York is the Executive Director of the Nebraska Community Colleges Association.

:12                  “to that bill”

Adams told the Southeast Community College Board and administration Tuesday that debate on the revenue bill could end up with no resolution.

:08                  “the outcome”

That Friday debate will be followed next week by debate on the mainline budget bill for the next two years.   Typically, Adams says the budget bill is advanced to the floor on a unanimous vote, but this time, the committee vote to advance it, was 6-3.

:11                  “an easy sell”

Under the current proposal, community college funding from state aid would be held flat in the first year of the two-year budget…then decline for the six community colleges by about one-million dollars for the second year.

:08                  “pretty good year”

In his first year as head of the community college lobbying organization, Adams has tracked about 40 pieces of legislation affecting the two-year-colleges, many that have a cost.  One bill introduced that would end community colleges’ ability to levy property tax, remains in a legislative committee.

:36                  “for a while”

Adams describes this session as “a game of defense” for the association.   He said the vast majority of state senators see the value of community college education in Nebraska, but he says the property tax issue is weighing heavily on senators.

:13                  “to be seen”

Adams says time will be spent in the off-session part of this year, to meet with senators one-on-one to promote better understanding of community colleges and their role in growing a workforce.

Adams said SCC President Dr. Paul Ilich played a critical role in testifying on behalf of community colleges and the association this year, during committee hearings on various bills.

April is Nebraska Community College Month. The SCC Board passed a resolution for the observance, at a Lincoln Campus meeting, Tuesday.

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