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10
Mar

Arena tax dollars coming in on target


The city finance director reported Thursday that new hotel, car rental, bar and restaurant taxes being collected for the city’s arena project appear to be coming in as projected.

The city of Lincoln began charging the new occupation taxes — which are usually passed on to consumers — in January. The first batch of taxes were due in late February — although bars and restaurants can choose to pay the tax quarterly — and Finance Director Don Herz told the Joint Public Agency that oversees the arena project that the city collected about $743,000.

“I’m very comfortable with those numbers,” Herz said. In fact, depending on the final numbers that come in by April, he said the tax revenue “may slightly exceed” the city’s projections. Car rental and hotel businesses are seasonal, he said, and will fluctuate.

Speaking of occupation taxes, the Journal Star is reporting that the Legislature is on the verge of taking away the city’s authority to charge occupation taxes on the sale of telecommunications equipment. The city of Lincoln broadened this tax from services to equipment last year, but the Legislature was lobbied heavily by retail groups to rein the city in. Looks like a compromise would allow the city to keep the tax until 2013 — giving the city breathing room for awhile.

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10
Mar

LIBA endorses Beutler

The Lincoln Independent Business Association Political Action Committee has voted to endorse Chris Beutler for re-election as mayor of Lincoln.

“Mayor Beutler received the LIBA PAC endorsement because he has worked tirelessly on several LIBA issues and succeeded in making Lincoln a better place to live and raise a family,” said Mark Schorr, LIBA PAC Chair. “LIBA has long advocated for an audit advisory board, staffing reductions, cuts to StarTran, a reduction in the 200 percent city employee retirement match, an increase in funding for the south beltway and reform of the Commission of Industrial Relations. Our report card shows Mayor Beutler has accomplished
all of these goals to varying degrees.”

LIBA credited Beutler with creating the city’s Audit Advisory Board, cutting StarTran and reducing city staffing by 120 full-time equivalents.

“Mayor Beutler is the first mayor to work at, and successfully reduce,
the 200 percent employee retirement match,” LIBA said in a press release. “Under his leadership, the city provided funding for, and purchased, south beltway right-of-way. While these issues are important, the mayor has also helped to tackle one of LIBA’s largest priorities, significant reform
to the CIR.

LIBA said his greatest accomplishment is “perhaps” his leadership and advocacy for a new arena — and bringing numerous groups together to support it and maximize local labor and suppliers.

“Because of these and other successes, we believe Mayor Beutler is ready to lead the city another four years,” the press release said.

The LIBA PAC endorses candidates who promote free enterprise, a healthy business environment, reduced government spending, and low taxes for the citizens of Lincoln.