As this year’s legislative session continues at the Unicameral, there are many bills that hope to improve Nebraska in some form or another.
The Lincoln Chamber has thrown its support behind two bills in particular, with both intending to further enrich and enhance our workforce development efforts across the state.
The first is LB639, or the H3 Careers Scholarship Act. Introduced by Senator John Stinner and Senator Lou Ann Linehan, the bill aims to continue our focus on workforce development by retaining talent through what are termed ‘H3’ jobs—ones that have high impact, high wages and a high need across Nebraska.
Attracting the personnel to fill these H3 occupations has been identified as a high-priority by some of the largest employers across our city and state. Developing our talent and creating a pathway to retaining that talent with an attractive career in Nebraska is a goal of this bill, which stipulates that students accepting these H3 scholarships would have to complete internships with Nebraska companies and complete their course of study.
This is a forward-thinking proposal to provide state support to offer these scholarships. LB639 would also help enrich our MyTern program, which is ready for its third year later in 2019.
Another bill that can attract talented people to our state is LB153, which aims to overhaul the system in place for military retirement benefits. Introduced by Senator Tom Brewer at the request of Governor Ricketts, this bill looks to reduce the tax burden on military retirement and streamline the process to make it more competitive both regionally and nationally.
The proposed law would exempt 50 percent of military retirement pay from being taxed and include all of Nebraska’s military retirees. The current system used to calculate military retirement taxes is complicated, something which this bill hopes to fix. As of 2017, this would include 13,000 Nebraskans and would deliver approximately $15 million in tax relief for Nebraska’s retired military veterans annually.
This is also a workforce issue because a high percentage of those in the military have the highly technical skills desired by employers across the state and in some cases, security clearances, that are also highly sought after. Surrounding states have similar measures in place and are less taxing for military personnel—we want to become an inviting destination and strengthen our commitment to Service members.
The Lincoln Chamber appreciates the efforts of the state to identify workforce development as a key need for our future. The ability to capitalize on the gifts and strengths of our state’s most important asset—our people, can help shape Nebraska positively for years to come.