February 16, 2012
To: Revenue Committee
From: Aubrey Mancuso, Policy Coordinator
RE: Support for LB 1098 to repeal the Build Nebraska Act and change distribution of sales and use tax revenue
Voices for Children supports LB 1098 because of concerns related to the adequacy of available general funds for important services impacting children. We appreciate the need for investments in infrastructure but do not support these investments coming at the expense of services for children. Our state’s child poverty rate is at the highest it has been in a decade with almost one in five children currently living in poverty. This is in spite of the fact that our state has fared better in the current economic climate than many other states. In spite of this we have still seen cuts to programs serving children including education, child care, and Medicaid. These cuts came on top of cuts made back in 2002, the majority of which have not been restored even when the state had additional funds. Even without reducing the amount of general funds available or increasing investments in children, we have no guarantee that we have adequate revenue to meet the needs of current programs serving children for the next 20 years.
The reallocation of funding prioritizes roads over education, health and other programs for years to come. Investments in children, not just roads, are the future of our state. Today’s children are tomorrow’s taxpayers, and failure to invest in children is costly to their future as well as to the future of our state. We cannot anticipate what the greatest need will be for Nebraska’s children ten years from now. Future legislators need the flexibility to be able to prioritize the biennial budget based on our state’s most pressing needs.
We urge you to look for alternative sources of revenue to fund infrastructure in a way that doesn’t impede our ability to invest in children and respectfully urge the committee to advance this bill. Thank you.