Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Thoughts on LB 84 Road Funding

Given our history we might be described as fans of Governor Heineman and that continues even though we are disappointed that he signed Senator Fischer's road building legislation which commits the state to spending 1/4 of a cent of its sales tax dollars beginning in 2013. The governor had been reluctant to commit future and unknown dollars to the effort. We think he should have stood his ground.

One group that won't be happy with him is the Nebraska educational community which feels threatened by earmarking sales tax revenue to road building and fears reduced education spending. Perhaps the governor has crossed the Rubicon with these folks anyway given his recent statements that the union-owned State Senator Steve Lathrop's revision of the C.I.R. bill doesn't go far enough. The education community is solidly opposed to where the governor wants to leave the public employee unions on this issue. So maybe the governor has written off the support of the education groups and teachers although he been a strong supporter of education improvements.

Now, having obtained passage of LB 84 we're hearing increasing rumors that Senator Fischer might just enter the U.S. Senate race. Getting the bill passed may be a feather in her bonnet, but still smacks of spending and earmarks which might not result in as much statewide support as she may hope for. Certainly, her name recognition can't compete with Stenberg's or Brunings and certainly neither Fischer, Stenberg or even Flynn can raise anywhere near enough money to be viable competitors against Bruning. Only Bruning can hurt Bruning. Based on his recent learning lesson on David Sokol (speaking out a little too quickly) we suspect Bruning will be much more tempered and reasoned in future iterations regarding friends or policy.

Bottom line on all of this? Fischer wins, Heineman punts and Bruning is still the 800 pound gorilla.

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