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2008 Media Releases


Date:
May 1, 2008
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Denise Pearce, Mayor's Office, 441-8044


MAYOR PRAISES COOPERATION ON CITY'S LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

Mayor Chris Beutler today said the 2008 State Legislative session was a success for the City and thanked Lincoln-area State Senators for their hard work. He also praised the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, the University of Nebraska- Lincoln and the 2015 Vision group for working with the City to accomplish the community's legislative priorities.

"The Chamber led City and community leaders and State Senators through a process to establish our goals for the session," said Beutler. "We focused on building coalitions, leveraging resources and working toward consensus on issues that are key to our community's growth and overall well-being. I am proud to say that working with our talented local Senators, we made significant progress on each of these issues."

The Lincoln-area State Senators are Bill Avery, Tony Fulton, Carol Hudkins, Amanda McGill, Danielle Nantkes, Ron Raikes, DiAnna Schimek and Norm Wallman.

The Mayor and Chamber of Commerce President Wendy Birdsall cited three specific bills:

  • LB 912, sponsored by Avery, will return about $700,000 per year in state sales tax revenues for the proposed arena project in the West Haymarket area.
  • LB 846, sponsored by Senator Deb Fischer of Valentine, helps stabilize gas tax revenues and includes local matching dollars for the South Beltway project.
  • LB 1116, sponsored by Senator Phil Erdman of Bayard, makes the land at State Fair Park available for Innovation Park.

"We look forward to the creation of a world-class research park that will be an economic catalyst for the whole community and State," said UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman. "I appreciate the efforts of our State Senators, the City, the Chamber and 2015 as we worked through this challenging issue."

"Mayor Beutler's relationship with the Legislature and his firsthand knowledge of the process contributed to his success in advancing the City's legislative agenda," said Tonn Ostergard of Crete Carrier Corporation, a representative of 2015 Vision. "While we are disappointed with the loss of the State Fair, we are excited about the future opportunities Innovation Campus will provide. The arena bill was also a success and a major step towards accomplishing our goal for a new arena and convention center in downtown Lincoln. The entire Lincoln delegation was very supportive and we appreciate their efforts working with the Mayor to accomplish these important projects. It takes a team effort, and we have a great team."

Birdsall said the Chamber also worked on LB 888 to provide corporate tax relief for small businesses; LB 956 to provide training funds for small business; and LB 895 to create an incentive program to attract high-wage employment to Nebraska.

"Our ultimate goals in the area of public policy are to reduce the tax burden on Lincoln businesses and residents and to assist in maintaining our tremendous quality of life," Birdsall said. "As a Chamber, we believe that the only way to achieve both of these objectives is through the growth of quality jobs and the attraction of new business investment. All of our public policy objectives relate to this core belief.

Beutler said he looks forward to collaborating with the City's partners on future State Legislative sessions. "There is more work to be done," he said. "But I have no doubt that by continuing our cooperative approach, we will continue our string of successes in the Capitol."

"We can accomplish more together than separately," said Birdsall. "We started this effort five years ago to create more cooperation within the community and to build our working relationships with our local delegation. We get more effective each year, and our success in 2008 is another prime example of how these partnerships translate into actions that benefit the entire community and the State."


Mayor's Office    Media Releases