Magazine article American Libraries

Nebraska Librarians Sue to Stop Cap Measure

Magazine article American Libraries

Nebraska Librarians Sue to Stop Cap Measure

Article excerpt

As one of some 30 organizations forming the Nebraskans for the Good Life (NGL) coalition, the Nebraska Library Association filed a suit to keep a proposed budget-capping constitutional amendment off the November 3 ballot. Although a judge dismissed the case on a technicality shortly after its July 21 filing, NLA legislative lobbyist Randy Moody told American Libraries in mid-August that he anticipates the coalition bringing more suits this fall to stop the measure.

NGL members, who include NLA, the Nebraska State Education Association, and a number of local governing authorities, are worried about the initiative because it moves a step beyond other states' tax-cap measures: the proposal would trigger sales- and income-tax rollbacks whenever municipal or state coffers received revenue surpluses, and contains no exemption for education or library spending. The collection of such nonstate and local revenue as federal funding, private grants, endowment income, lottery proceeds, and various government fees would not be hampered if the measure becomes law.

The Business Summit measure (named after the early 1998 meeting of 49 Nebraska CEOs out of which the idea for the constitutional amendment emerged) would "reverse the recent trend away from property taxes to fund local government," Moody explained. He told AL that the ballot petition drive was propelled by members of the corporately backed Citizens for Nebraska's Future, who are "alarmed" that the state's increasing reliance on sales-tax revenues will ultimately diminish their profit margins. …

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