Omaha World-Herald: Legislature Ties NRDs’ Hands

Legislature Ties NRDs’ Hands

As a member of the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District Board, I have a responsibility to oversee flood control and water and soil quality issues in an area that includes multiple counties and cities. The board is concerned not only with Nebraska’s water and soil but also its people and their well-being.

Despite this, Nebraska Legislature has preempted natural resources districts from using bonds to finance major projects, spreading the cost over many years.

State legislators claim they’ve preempted local NRD bonding to protect people from property tax increases. But the bonds don’t usually raise property taxes — in fact, they may actually lower them.

NRDs are unique to Nebraska, and our state lawmakers should respect these local government entities, their efforts to protect local water and land and the local residents who vote for them.

I’m thankful that groups like the Campaign to Defend Local Solutions are holding lawmakers accountable for preemption.

Patrick Leahy, Omaha