Senator Matt Williams made a visit to Broken Bow on Wednesday, September 18 during the Broken Bow Area Rotary meeting to recap the 2019 legislative session and what he would be working on in the 2020 session.
Williams began the meeting discussing the difficulty that senators can have when attempting to pass legislation.
He informed the group that for legislation to pass, specifically under a major bill, 33 of 49 votes are needed to allow the bill to be possibly signed into law. He noted that when senators disagree on a bill it can be very hard to pass anything due to it only taking 17 senators to create a filibuster and stall the bill.
This difficulty to pass the bills was very true during property tax discussions where bills that were extremely important for the rural community, were viewed differently by senators that represent Lincoln and Omaha where those that own property is a much smaller number than rural owners.
Williams did talk briefly on property taxes, stating that he cannot see a way to lower property taxes without having some sort of revenue source. He also talked about the property tax fund and his vision of seeing it increasing by nearly $200 million.
“Right now we are putting $275 million a year into the property tax credit fund. I think that has a chance of moving up to the $400-$450 million a year,” said Williams
Williams also talked about the path he was planning on taking during the next legislative session and some of the ideas for bills he was looking to pursue. Financial literacy was a topic that Williams is looking to take on in hopes to put something together to help those who struggle with balancing their checkbook, buying insurance, etc.
“Financial literacy is vitally important. Those people that cannot handle their check book, don’t know anything about credit cards, or struggle buying insurance become a burden on everyone else. They are not very happy and not very successful themselves as tax payers. We are looking at legislation in that area,” said Williams.
The nursing home crisis was another topic that Williams is looking to tackle as nursing homes across Nebraska have been faced with a huge financial crisis. He noted that Medicaid reimbursement for nursing homes continues to be a problem as two facilities that care for the same patient could be reimbursed drastically different.
For example, one facility in Nebraska is currently reimbursed at $115 per patient while another facility is reimbursed at $255 per patient.
The first day of the 2020 legislative session is scheduled to begin on January 8. Stay tuned to KCNI/KBBN on Saturdays during the legislative session to receive weekly updates from Senator Matt Williams.