Education and tax reform are top priorities this session in Linc - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Education and tax reform are top priorities this session in Lincoln

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NORFOLK, Neb. (KTIV) As many Nebraskans are getting ready to file their 2013 tax returns, also on the minds of nearly all of Nebraska's 49 senators is changes to the state's tax code.

"I think tax in general more specific I think we'll be talking about income tax, we'll talk about property taxes a lot, and we'll probably talk about sales tax a little bit,” said Senator Jim Scheer, of Norfolk.

Senator Kate Sullivan of Cedar Rapids serves on the legislature's finance committee and has been discussing the issue of tax reform at length during the interim.

"It will not be a major overhaul of our tax code. We're looking at perhaps some incremental changes to such things as the brackets for the income tax categories,” said Sullivan.

Taxes aside, Scheer said that he is also planning to introduce legislation that he said would create small school district consortiums. The legislation would allow for small school districts to share educational resources between the schools using technology. Scheer said that the goal is to provide smaller schools with what he calls educational equity.

"Large school districts keep talking about the funds that the smaller districts have available because of the higher valuations. But no one ever talks about the educational equity, and small schools, by and large, struggle to provide just the bare minimum of what the state requires,” said Scheer.

Scheer's legislation would allow schools to choose their own consortium members, the only requirements would be that member school districts maintain the same calendar and schedule.

Other issues expected to be before lawmakers in Lincoln will be discussions of repealing the state's death penalty, Medicaid expansion, and changes to Nebraska's "Good Time" law. The law allows inmates in the Nebraska penal system to be eligible for parole when the offender has served one-half the minimum term of their sentence.

The second session of the 103rd Nebraska Unicameral Legislature will begin next week.


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