Official Policy

The Lincoln Chamber of Commerce is often asked, "Where do you stand on this issue?"  In an effort to help members and potential members answer that question, these six statements were created as an outline of support.  These principles, in conjunction with direction from our Board, formulate specific positions on issues that directly affect the business community.

Six Statements of Core Policy

The Lincoln Chamber of Commerce (LCOC) promotes a positive business climate that is conducive to growth of jobs, investment and tourism. The Lincoln Chamber will pursue this goal together with other community and business organizations to improve the quality of life and standard of living for Lincoln citizens. The following are our core statements of policy:
 

  1. The Lincoln Chamber of Commerce supports performance-based tax incentives, and continuing competitive analysis of such programs which emphasize achievement of the economic development strategies identified in the Angelou Economics Report and strategic plans adopted by the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development.
  2. The Lincoln Chamber of Commerce encourages fiscal responsibility at all levels of government and seeks to eliminate the duplication of services and programs.
  3. The Lincoln Chamber of Commerce supports the pursuit of government efficiencies gained through mergers and consolidation.
  4. The Lincoln Chamber of Commerce supports the examination and prudence of total tax system impacts and spending issues; we oppose any shift in taxes outside of such context.
  5. The Lincoln Chamber of Commerce supports routine governmental reviews of governmental efficiency and spending control and opposes enactment of new or disguised forms of taxation outside of such reviews.
  6. The Lincoln Chamber of Commerce supports market competition as the most efficient means of ensuring high levels of service, innovation and competitive pricing. Regulations of any kind should undergo stringent cost/benefit analysis to ensure compliance costs will not stifle the benefits generally produced by market competition.
     

Local Issues

The Lincoln Chamber of Commerce will continue its critical role as the primary business advocate for Lincoln’s growth. We will be focused, issue-based, and non-partisan while asserting the positive and essential role business plays to improve our community and expand opportunities for all citizens.                        

The Lincoln Chamber’s key Local policy objectives for 2019:

CITY LEADERSHIP The Lincoln Chamber values the relationship it has developed with all local government officials especially the outgoing Mayor Chris Beutler and three city council members not seeking re-election – (Jon Camp, Carl Eskridge and Cyndi Lamm). With change comes opportunities and risks. With that in mind, we are committed to being engaged in the election of Lincoln’s next Mayor by hosting an educational forum focusing on non-partisan issues important to Lincoln’s business community. After the election, we will develop a positive and mutually beneficial working relationship with the new administration and city council members.   

HOUSING AFFORDABILITY The Lincoln Chamber recognizes that affordable housing is one of the most important components to attracting and retaining a diverse workforce. A lack of affordable housing is becoming a significant barrier to increased entrepreneurship and economic development in our community. We will continue working to identify ways to eliminate these barriers. This includes reducing unnecessary government policies and regulations that contribute to the problem.  

COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE The Lincoln Chamber believes infrastructure funding should be the top priority for Lancaster County and the City of Lincoln.  As business needs evolve, issues such as high-speed broadband communications and other non-traditional assets are necessary for growth. The Chamber will advocate for not only road, water, and sewer infrastructure; but also, technological upgrades to Lincoln’s infrastructure that allows our community to remain globally competitive. We will work to lessen the gap between the current revenues available for infrastructure and the current list of needs by supporting the Better Streets for a Stronger Future ballot initiative. We will work to protect sources of local infrastructure funding, encourage budget transparency, and accountability in government.  Completing both the South AND the East Beltway will continue to be an area of focus. We will encourage the Nebraska Department of Roads to fully fund the East Beltway in the second 10 years of the Build Nebraska Act.   

TALENT ATTRACTION & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT The Lincoln Chamber actively supports local initiatives designed to facilitate the LPED strategic Economic Development Plan and fulfill Lincoln’s Economic Development goals outlined in the 2015 Angelou Economics report.  Job growth and business expansion are critical components of a vibrant community.  We are committed to supporting Lincoln’s continued success as a place of business expansion, growing talent and endless opportunities.  We will ensure Lincoln is a top destination for building a business, pursuing a career, and entrepreneurship.

TAX ALLOCATION & GOVERNMENT EFFICIENCY The Lincoln Chamber encourages all local government entities to work collaboratively and efficiently.  In this process, we encourage them to pursue varied sources of funding while not increasing the tax burden.

CVB MISSION SUPPORT Increasing the number of visitors to Lincoln has a positive effect on Lincoln’s economy. More visitors translate into additional sales tax dollars that help off-set the community’s reliance on property tax dollars.  These efforts will include pursuing youth related ball fields associated with the planned Sports Triangle near Haymarket Park, the Breslow Ice Center, and Memorial Stadium.

SUSTAINING LINCOLN’S MOMENTUM The Lincoln Chamber is committed to growing Lincoln.  To that end, the Lincoln Chamber will continue to advocate for the expansion of air service at the Lincoln Airport and the continued development of the West Haymarket area, the development of the Air Park Rail Center/Industrial Park, South Haymarket, South of Downtown, East Downtown and the development of the University of Nebraska’s Innovation Campus.  These initiatives represent the future of both Lincoln and the State of Nebraska.

Adopted February 14, 2019.

State Issues

The Lincoln Chamber’s key State policy objectives for 2019:

ECONOMIC GROWTH AND COMPETITIVENESSContinued strong economic and population growth is essential for the competitiveness of our state. The Lincoln Chamber will prioritize support for legislative proposals that enhance economic growth, workforce development, and training.  We will work to facilitate the LPED strategic plan for the Lincoln region by supporting public policies and legislative proposals that align with these strategies and strategies under the Nebraska’s Next Economy report from SRI International. Additionally, the Chamber will continue to collaborate with the State Chamber, the Greater Omaha Chamber and other organizations and institutions that support a more competitive tax system and more competitive tax incentives for Nebraska. The impact of recently enacted federal tax reforms should be fully understood and considered as we evaluate state tax policy changes.

TAX RELIEF & SPENDING RESTRAINTThe Lincoln Chamber continues to support lowering the tax burden. Nebraska has moved in the right direction recently in national tax rankings. Tax relief must include a focus on spending restraint; state and local governments must set priorities that align with local taxpayers. Without spending restraint from all levels of government, so called tax relief turns into a tax shift that does nothing to lower our overall tax burden. Nebraska’s income taxes are among the highest in the region and this undermines our competition for high quality jobs and investments, as well as talent retention. We will work to protect Lincoln taxpayers and our economy from the undue burden of tax shifts.

ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE The Lincoln Chamber will prioritize efforts to protect the Build Nebraska Act and safeguard the security of the HWY Trust Fund. The Chamber will continue advocacy and coalition building to secure state funds related to Lincoln’s South and East Beltway projects. The Chamber believes there is a significant funding gap for road infrastructure needs across the state. The Lincoln South Beltway, which is programmed for funding under the Build Nebraska Act, has enormous public safety, road system efficiency, and economic growth benefits. The Chamber will work cooperatively with coalitions to protect against any legislative efforts to undermine the Build Nebraska Act, and will support innovative legislative proposals aimed at accelerating road system investments.

STATE BUDGET & GOVERNMENT EFFICIENCYThe Chamber will expect efficiency from all levels of government and prioritize support for state spending initiatives to those that leverage private investment, assist with the workforce development needs of business, promote public/private partnerships, and enhance competitiveness for job and investment growth. We will support state leaders who work to promote overall fiscal restraint. State leaders should continue to be prudent in their protection and use of the Cash Reserve Fund.  The Lincoln Chamber supports Governor Ricketts and state senators in their efforts to reform government and make better use of business principles in the operations and evaluation of its effectiveness. The Lincoln Chamber will lend support to government accountability and efficiency efforts, such as LEAN government reforms.

REGULATORY REFORMThe Chamber will lend support to Governor Ricketts and senators’ regulatory relief efforts. 

CVB MISSION SUPPORT The Chamber will help the Convention and Visitors Bureau on state issues it identifies as top legislative priorities to assist in bringing more visitors, events, and conventions to the Lincoln area. With the 2013 opening of the Pinnacle Bank Arena and continued build out of the Haymarket, as well as consideration of other Sports Triangle opportunities, the Lincoln Chamber will work in coordination with the CVB to capitalize on opportunities for growing our market and protecting & enhancing local attractions.

SUPPORT MILITARY SERVICEThe Lincoln Chamber will support proposals that assist with attracting, retaining, and encouraging individuals who have a status or background of military service and who desire to build a career or business in Nebraska. Our Military Affairs Committee will continue to reach out to employers and military personnel to enhance understanding and build cooperation.

Adopted February 14, 2019.

Federal Issues

The Lincoln Chamber’s key Federal policy objectives for 2019:

CIVILITY AND LEADERSHIP The Lincoln Chamber calls on all members of the Nebraska delegation to strive to work as leaders seeking solutions to issues and avoid the all-to-common Washington practice of simply seeking to gain political advantage. We firmly believe that our citizens yearn for leaders who understand the value of working to build consensus. We urge all members of the delegation to strive to engage on issues with civility, pragmatism and common sense. We respect our elected leaders for their dedication to public service. We also expect and urge all Nebraskans to engage on public policy issues with the same civility, pragmatism and common sense that we expect from our elected leaders.

FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY The Lincoln Chamber will continue to stress the need for federal officials to address entitlement reform and the lack of federal spending discipline. The Lincoln Chamber calls upon all members of our federal delegation to support greater fiscal discipline to create a more competitive climate for private sector job growth.

INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDINGThe Lincoln Chamber continues to be extremely concerned with how federal bureaucracy increases the time and costs of projects in Lincoln and across the state of Nebraska. We are, however, encouraged by the cooperation NDOT received from the Federal HWY Administration after our state legislature enacted National Environmental Policy Act assumption legislation with strong backing from the Lincoln Chamber. We will work cooperatively with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, our delegation of federal officials, and other organizations & coalitions to develop and advance solutions.  Infrastructure funding will remain a focus of our federal policy efforts in 2019.

RESEARCH & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT The Lincoln Chamber will place strong emphasis on supporting research-related federal requests that align with the strategic plan adopted by the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development. Capitalizing on opportunities for public/private partnerships that leverage such research to help create high-quality jobs and build our innovation capacity is essential to Nebraska’s growth. The Lincoln Chamber will work cooperatively with the University of Nebraska, the Vision Lincoln group and other organizations & coalitions. 

ENERGY POLICYThe Lincoln Chamber believes our economic future and competitive position are closely tied to our national energy policy. Federal policy initiatives should support: 1) Agriculture’s vital role in developing sustainable energy; 2) Market-based, long-term plans to create more available and affordable energy; 3) All of our domestic energy resources in a true “all-of-the-above” energy strategy; 4) Thorough analysis of costs and benefits that account for the cascading impacts of regulation;

5) Inclusive and robust rulemaking that takes the time to get rules and regulations right; and, 6) Rational & economic-based approaches on energy incentives.

IMMIGRATION REFORM The Lincoln Chamber believes the time is right for our citizens and our elected officials to confront difficult and complex immigration issues. Immigration policies encompass incredibly important economic issues. Immigration and citizenship issues are deeply tied to societal values, national security issues, and our moral development as a nation of immigrants. The Lincoln Chamber will always seek a better understanding of perspectives on this complex issue and will provide constructive input from a business perspective. This issue must be addressed on a bi-partisan basis. Our nation and our state must continue as “welcoming economies” that invite diversity and inclusion.

TRADE Increased trade will play an important role in America’s economic growth. From a Nebraska perspective, trade also is a major boost for both our agriculture and manufacturing sectors. There’s opportunity for growth by lowering trade barriers, and opening markets for American goods and services. Given the Trump administration’s stance on trade, this will be a particularly important policy arena for our state.

Adopted February 14, 2019.