The Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry is Nebraska’s largest statewide business association. The State Chamber exists to make Nebraska an even better place to do business.
Among the Nebraska Chamber’s members, you will find businesses of all sizes and types – more than 400 different categories of businesses in more than 150 communities across Nebraska. The Chamber claims more than 60 local chambers of commerce as members, along with dozens of state-level trade and professional associations.
Headquartered half-a-block west of the State Capitol, the State Chamber’s most important activity is representing the business community on major issues of interest before the Nebraska Unicameral. Generally speaking, the Chamber follows issues and legislation addressing five key areas:
- Economic development
- Workforce and housing
- Job creation and business investment
- Labor law and other regulations facing employers
A recent survey revealed that the Chamber’s legislative activity and updates were very important to 90 percent of the members – and more than 95 percent of members agreed the Nebraska Chamber is effective in representing the business community.
Four registered lobbyists lead the Chamber’s efforts to educate state lawmakers on key issues. The Chamber’s professional staff communicates with state senators, testifies before legislative committees, and monitors activity on the Unicameral floor and in the legislative committees.
In the 2018 session of the Nebraska Legislature, nearly 470 bills were introduced. Additionally, there were nearly 400 measures carried over from the 2017 session.
In total, your Nebraska Chamber either took positions on or monitored approximately 250 measures due to their potential impact on the state’s businesses and our economy. The 2018 session brought some notable achievements for the business community, including Chamber-supported bills such as:
- LB1090: Made key changes to Nebraska’s tax code to prevent a $226 million tax increase that would have unintentionally occurred due to the federal tax overhaul enacted in late 2017.
- LB496: Helps Nebraska communities address their housing shortages by allowing qualified housing projects to be eligible for tax-increment financing.
- LB738: Indexes for inflation the state’s thresholds that determine income taxes paid by Social Security recipients, thereby making Nebraska’s tax climate more competitive for retirees.
- LB953, LB957: Makes positive changes to Nebraska’s Workers’ Compensation law to streamline the lump-sum settlement process and modernize payment methods.
- LB994: Aims to expand high-speed internet access in rural Nebraska.
- The State Chamber worked just as hard to defeat or amend proposals that would have harmed our business climate. Fortunately, all such bills either died at session’s end or were amended significantly. Among these measures were:
- LB829: Would have created a $1.1 billion-a-year state subsidy for property owners with local tax liability, while offering no way of funding the subsidy or any language to address local spending growth.
- LB1084: Would have enacted a massive tax shift by raising sales, excise and income taxes to boost K-12 state aid spending.
- LB844: Would have created a paid-leave mandate on Nebraska’s private-sector employers of all sizes.
- LB728, LB1074: Would have added a 7.84 percent bracket to Nebraska’s already 15th-highest-in-the-nation individual income tax.
- LB935: Would have imposed new, burdensome reporting mandates on job-creating businesses that had already been approved for use of Nebraska’s business tax incentives.
The proof is in the numbers
Over the past decade, the State Chamber has also become much more active in monitoring federal activities and reporting federal activities to its members. The Nebraska Chamber is the state affiliate of two national organizations – the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.
As a leader in advocacy for the business community, the Nebraska Chamber works hard on behalf of its members. And the proof is in the numbers. More than 95 percent of the State Chamber’s members said they would recommend joining the State Chamber to a non-member business, according to one survey.