Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Nebraska Voter Information Packet: An Indispensable Citizen Resource

If you are a Nebraska citizen of voting age, you most definitely need to carefully read through the Nebraska Voters Information Packet. Here it is, the most thorough, fair-minded voter information guide you'll find and especially valuable for those who care about the moral/social issues that so many candidates try to dodge.

In addition to using the sidebar at the left of the VIP page to find positions of the candidates, I would urge you to pay attention to the information provided about amendments and initiatives. For instance, regarding Initiative Measure 421 about Video Keno, the VIP siccinctly states:

A vote “FOR” will amend the Nebraska County and City Lottery Act to authorize the use of video keno gaming devices.

A vote “AGAINST” will not cause the Nebraska County and City Lottery Act to be amended to authorize the use of video keno gaming devices.

But the creators of the VIP (very diligent and principled) go further and provide you with more information about the measure as gleaned from both supporters and opponents of the measure. I found particularly interesting this passage from those who, like myself, oppose 421.

"Keep the money in Nebraska” is what the supporters say. But opponents quote a study by Ernest Goss, Ph.D., Creighton University done for the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce 2002. His research showed that just one casino in Omaha would result in a 66% increase in Nebraska gambling losses and take $62 million more out of the State’s economy than is leaving now.

About the lid on state spending (Initiative Measure 423), there was this explanation:

A vote “FOR” will amend the Nebraska Constitution to impose a state spending limit based upon a calculation involving previous appropriations, the inflation rate and population change in Nebraska.

A vote “AGAINST” will not amend the Nebraska Constitution to impose such a state spending limit.

But again, the really useful information comes from the material gleaned from the supporters and opponents of the lid. Example --

What the measure actually says is rather simple. The state government will not be allowed to spend more money than it currently does with built in adjustments for inflation and population growth.

Supporters, including Nebraska Taxpayers ( say that property taxes will not have to rise and that the idea has been presented before here in Nebraska in other forms. They quote the governor of Colorado saying their state’s measure (TABOR) has been a success.

...The governor of Colorado said their TABOR (“ Taxpayer Bill of Rights" adopted there in 1992.) plan was one of the "primary reasons Colorado weathered the recession better than many other states."

Businesses will want to come to where they will not be endangered by excessive taxation. Colorado’s experience in the first decade after TABOR was enacted was that job growth surged at almost double the rate of the previous ten years. For the past 14 years, the American Enterprise Institute has consistently ranked Colorado’s economy first in the nation.

I personally find this argument convincing and, for other resaons as well, plan to vote for this spending lid.

The Nebraska VIP site even has sample ballots to help make your trip to the voting booth easy as pie. Again, you'll find the site right over here.