Reliable, Trustworthy Reporting, Capturing The Heartbeat Of Our Community

(64) stories found containing 'jim pillen'


Sorted by date  Results 1 - 25 of 64

  • Governor enlists well-paid consultant to eliminate waste in state government

    Paul Hammel, Nebraska Press Association correspondent|Jul 17, 2024

    Every candidate for governor always promises two things – to cut property taxes, and eliminate the “waste” in state spending. Both of those pledges are awfully easy to make -- and play well on a TV ad -- and much harder to achieve. Current Gov. Jim Pillen is finding that out this year with his property tax reduction ideas. But he’s adopted a different tactic in cutting the fat from state spending by hiring a high-priced consultant to suggest reductions. He enlisted Epiphany Associates, a Utah-ba...

  • Cowboy culture thrives at Clearwater's annual rodeo

    LuAnn Schindler, Publisher|Jul 3, 2024

    What a show! Overflow crowds watched nearly 300 cowboys and cowgirls provide thrills and spills over the weekend at Clearwater's Big Rodeo. In the process, competitors took home approximately $34,000 in prize money. "What an amazing three nights of rodeo," said Curt Thiele, Clearwater Chamber of Commerce president. "We were blessed with very good weather and competition was high, with a big number of competitors." Sutton Schrunk, of Valentine, scored 77 in bull riding to take home the top prize...

  • Latest trial balloon from Pillen on property taxes calls for state takeover of funding

    Paul Hammel, Nebrask Press Association Correspondent|Jul 3, 2024

    Back in the day, a small, "trial balloon" would be sent aloft to discern wind speed and direction before a balloon carrying people was launched. Folks were rightly concerned about rising into the heavens blindly, without knowing if a catastrophic whirlwind was aloft. Right now, we're seeing plenty of trial balloons sent aloft by Gov. Jim Pillen to determine if a plan to dramatically reduce local property taxes might have a shot at success during his special session, scheduled to start July 25....

  • Many have tried, few have succeeded in eliminating tax exemptions

    Paul Hammel, Nebraska Press Association Correspondent|Jun 19, 2024

    Many have tried, and few have succeeded in expanding the state’s sales tax base by taxing things now exempt from taxation. But that is where Gov. Jim Pillen is venturing in his pursuit of property tax relief. His initial plan, which failed to win approval in the state Legislature this spring, would have imposed new taxes on a host of items that could be labeled “low-hanging fruit.” I mean who’s going to get upset if we start imposing taxes on edibles infused with hemp, those slot machine...

  • Pillen still plugging for property tax relief, despite defeat of initial plan

    Paul Hammel, Nebraska Press Association correspondent|Jun 5, 2024

    Let's face it, Nebraska has high property taxes, the seventh highest in the country according to the Tax Foundation, which tracks such things. "Lots of land, not a lot of people," has always been the catchphrase, which translates into a higher burden of property taxes. But I almost fell out of my chair when Gov. Jim Pillen proposed, initially, to raise the state's sales taxes by two cents to achieve property tax relief. Never did I imagine that a conservative Republican governor would propose a...

  • Pillen addresses tornado damage, recovery efforts

    May 1, 2024

    Governor Jim Pillen issued the following statement in the aftermath of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes that resulted in damage across eastern Nebraska Friday: "Suzanne and I extend our deepest prayers to all those impacted by today's storms. I have ordered that state resources be made available to assist with the emergency response and to support local first responders as they assess the damage. Nebraskans are tough, resilient people, and our neighbors and communities will rally around...

  • Special session talk abounds at the capitol

    J.L. Schmidt, Statehouse Correspondent Nebraska Press Association|Apr 24, 2024

    In 2021, the last special session of the Nebraska Legislature lasted 13 days and cost the state $105,436. Do the math, that's $8,076.92 per day. Then ask yourself, is a winner-take-all election measure, which would bring Nebraska into the same fold as 48 other states, worth the money. For that matter, is a so-called solution to the state's property tax problems worth it? They're bantering the words "special session" around like it's nothing short of expected. Gov. Jim Pillen says he will call a...

  • Six words seem to have a Legislative curse

    J.L. Schmidt, Statehouse Correspondent Nebraska Press Association|Apr 17, 2024

    "I believe I have the votes." Those six words have become the curse of the Nebraska Legislature. The buzzkill. The harbinger of failure. Sen. Kathleen Kauth of Omaha learned that on Day 56 of the 60-day session when her Sports and Spaces Act did little more than use up four hours of time when an attempt to end the opponent's filibuster fell two votes short. The measure fell off the agenda for good this year. Likewise, a last-ditch attempt to return Nebraska presidential elections to a...

  • Crunch time in Lincoln, it has even been thus

    JL Schmidt, Nebraska Press Association Statehouse Correspondent|Apr 10, 2024

    It's easy to understand but hard to remember that the one task of the Nebraska Legislature is to pass a balanced budget during the 90-day session and to make adjustments to and pass that budget again in the 60-day session. Mission accomplished again by the 2024 Legislature, which has a little more than a week of session left. The simple task often gets lost in the shadow of high-profile issues, such as this year's struggle to find a solution for skyrocketing property taxes. With all eyes on...

  • New Nebraska law will expand public records access for Nebraskans

    Ruth Bailey, Nebraska News Service|Apr 10, 2024

    Nebraska residents should have easier access to public records under a bill that, in effect, overrules a recent Nebraska Supreme Court decision allowing the state to charge high amounts for retrieving public records. Gov. Jim Pillen signed Legislative Bill 43, adopting the First Freedom Act and new public record provisions, on Wednesday, March 27, after it unanimously passed in the Legislature, 39-0. The bill went into immediate effect due to an emergency clause. The emergency clause was added to an amendment inspired by Lincoln Sen. Danielle...

  • Nominations accepted for state's Step Forward awards

    Apr 3, 2024

    ServeNebraska is now accepting volunteer nominations for the 10th annual Step Forward Awards. The Step Forward Awards are the most prestigious awards given to volunteers in Nebraska and highlight the state's remarkable culture of community service. Award recipients will be selected by the governor and honored at the 2024 Step Forward Awards Luncheon in October. Businesses, civic clubs, schools and other organizations are encouraged to submit individuals and groups who they believe should be...

  • How much power is too much

    JL Schmidt, Statehouse Correspondent Nebraska Press Association|Mar 20, 2024

    Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely is a proverbial saying reportedly coined by the English nobleman Lord Acton in 1857. How much power should be given to the executive branch of Nebraska state government is a topic for discussion by state lawmakers and political observers alike. Currently there are 18 code agencies, which answer to Governor Jim Pillen. The Legislature is considering measures addressing the situation. Sen Steve Erdman of Bayard wants History Nebraska (formerly...

  • Slama bowing out, Chambers launches comeback

    JL Schmidt, Nebraska Press Association Statehouse Correspondent|Mar 13, 2024

    There are a lot of ins and outs in party politics during an election year. Who's in the race and who's out? All eyes have been on the Legislature where the big surprise came from Republican Julie Slama – rhymes with drama – announced she wouldn't seek a second term representing southeast Nebraska's District One because she was going to take her recently earned law degree another direction. But before the appointee of then Governor Pete Ricketts could relish the attention one more time, the ven...

  • Wait, what? Governor reverses stand on aid for kids

    J.L. Schmidt, Statehouse Correspondent Nebraska Press Association|Feb 21, 2024

    Wait, what? Governor Jim Pillen has reversed his opposition to a federal summer grocery program that would aid around 150,000 children of low-income families. Pillen succumbed to a lot of outside pressure from a bipartisan group of state lawmakers, a bill introduced by one of them to request the aid and another state senator who made it his priority to ensure it would be debated in the remaining days of the legislative session. Back in December he proclaimed that he didn't "believe in welfare."...

  • Center pleased to learn Nebraska will provide Summer-EBT for children

    Feb 14, 2024

    The Center for Rural Affairs welcomes this morning's news from Gov. Jim Pillen that Nebraska will participate in the Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer program. "Approximately 150,000 school-aged children throughout Nebraska face food insecurity," said Carlie Jonas, policy associate with the center. "While Nebraska leaders have tried to address the issue in recent years by expanding eligibility in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to hundreds of additional families, further steps...

  • Winter storm demonstrates importance of diverse energy sources

    Val Ankeny, Policy associate and Center for Rural Affairs|Feb 7, 2024

    Significant snow, wind, and brutally cold temperatures impacted Nebraska in January. Given the frequency of extreme weather events experienced across the U.S. during the past several years, preparing for emergencies is an important consideration for utilities and regulators. Extreme weather events have an outsized impact on the electric grid and show the necessity of protecting its integrity and resiliency. Between Jan. 8 and 17, large portions of Nebraska spent more than 80 consecutive hours...

  • Ricketts and Pillen on right side in electric vehicle debate

    J.L. Schmidt, Statehouse Correspondent Nebraska Press Association|Feb 7, 2024

    Full disclosure: My wife and I drive a four-year-old hybrid sedan. It runs on the electric motor up to 15 miles -per- hour before the gasoline engine engages. It feels and sounds like it's dead at stop signs. It averages 44 miles-per-gallon in highway driving. But it's a hybrid, not an all-electric vehicle. U.S. Senator Pete Ricketts has vowed to use every tool he has to fight President Joe Biden's electric vehicle mandates. Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen has signed a letter to Biden as one of 16...

  • Governor vows to cut property taxes by $2 billion, somehow

    J.L. Schmidt, Statehouse Correspondent Nebraska Press Association|Jan 31, 2024

    I was not shocked, just disappointed when Governor Jim Pillen announced that he was going to reduce Nebraska's collective property taxes by $2 billion this year, somehow. Imagine that. In a short session in what also happens to be an election year, but without a specific plan, the first-term Republican is going to achieve a 40% property tax reduction in a single year. "I'm committed. I'm all in. The problem has to be solved," he said. As he has before, he talked again about a hard cap on local...

  • I like the idea of the Legislature running the state prison system

    JL Schmidt, Nebraska Press Association Statehouse Correspondent|Jan 25, 2024

    Omaha Senator Justin Wayne, chair of the Judiciary Committee, has offered a bill that would put Nebraska's Legislature in charge of the state's prison system, which is currently under the purview of the executive branch. Given the way things have been going with the Department of Correctional Services, especially the selection of a site for a new prison in northeast Lincoln that was changed to an allegedly more acceptable site at the last minute, I like Wayne's proposal. If made law, it would pu...

  • Sorry you're hungry kids, the governor doesn't believe in welfare

    J.L. Schmidt, Statehouse Correspondent Nebraska Press Association|Jan 11, 2024

    The hole keeps getting deeper. Remember when I suggested someone should give the governor a shovel so he could dig a deeper hole for himself? That was when he had refused to read a published report on high levels of nitrates on his pig farms because it was written by "someone from Communist China." He subsequently refused to apologize to the reporter with a Chinese surname who is a graduate of an American university and has been working for news organizations in the United States for several yea...

  • No more work from home? Is hybrid the answer?

    J.L. Schmidt, Statehouse Correspondent Nebraska Press Association|Dec 21, 2023

    Remember the Christmas bonus? Probably a thing of past given the changed face of the workplace. Perhaps your "bonus" allows you to work from home. Be grateful the next time you slide in behind your computer, in your jammies at some odd hour to complete a project. It seems that even the work-from-home mentality is changing in favor of the hybrid work week – two or three days in the office and two or three days working remotely. The latest figures from the University of Nebraska at Omaha's C...

  • Some question sustainability of education future fund

    JL Schmidt, Nebraska Press Association Statehouse Correspondent|Dec 14, 2023

    The chickens are coming home to roost. Several tax watchdog groups say the Legislature, at the behest of the governor, has gone overboard in depleting state revenue by earmarking too much for property tax relief. But Governor Jim Pillen debunks the reports. He said they came up with different numbers than he did. Here's the rub. He hasn't read the reports. Let that sink in for a minute. Not unlike the reports on higher than acceptable levels of nitrates in the groundwater near his pig farms. He...

  • Pillen wants all hands on deck

    J.L. Schmidt, Statehouse Correspondent Nebraska Press Association|Dec 7, 2023

    Governor Jim Pillen wants all state government employees at their desks in their assigned departments beginning next month. He said the pandemic-era remote is over, although both empirical and anecdotal evidence nationwide show a workplace change that was pandemic caused has become the new normal. Oh, and never mind the fact that some state agencies have remote and telework policies that have been in place for 15 years. And, of course, not every department has the physical space available for...

  • Whatever happened to people who apologize?

    JL Schmidt, Nebraska Press Association Statehouse Correspondent|Nov 2, 2023

    Quick, somebody give the governor a shovel, I want to see how much deeper he can dig the hole. Weeks after he insulted a reporter who questioned the high nitrate levels on his pig farm, Governor Jim Pillen has yet to apologize for his xenophobic remarks. The reporter, born in China, has been working in this country since 2017. She wrote about the nitrate issue for "Flatwater Free Press," her employer for the past two years. On an Omaha radio call-in program, Pillen said he hadn't read the...

  • Governor hires consultant to save state money

    J.L. Schmidt, Statehouse Correspondent Nebraska Press Association|Oct 5, 2023

    Governor Jim Pillen had an epiphany that paying a consultant $10 million over the next four years would save the state money. Pillen has signed the $2.5 million/year contract, renewable three times, with Epiphany Associates of Utah to find ways to save the state money. In the process, he dismantled the seven-year-old Center for Operational Excellence which was doing the same thing. The 26 employees in that little known division of the Department of Administrative Services completed nearly 1,000 process improvement projects and cut costs by...

Page Down