The most important vote on the November ballot is, without a doubt, the proposed spending lid amendment. Nebraska must reject this dangerous and inflexible political quackery.
The New Nebraska Network can't help but thank retired Omaha World-Herald editor Harold W. Andersen for using his still-prominent columns these last several weeks to effectively draw attention to the out-of-state ideologues who've hijacked Nebraska's petition process, treating the state as a laboratory for their failed experiment in anti-government extremism.
Without any stake of their own in the well-being of the state, New York's Howard Rich & his cohorts in the Illinois-based Americans for Limited Governement and the Montana-front organization America At Its Best have recklessly endangered the prosperity of our state and the futures of its young and elderly.
Meanwhile, NNN remains disappointed (though unsurprised) at the continued lack of leadership from Gov. Dave Heineman on this all-important issue. Heineman clearly believes he has political capital to spend heading into Election Day. Rather than using the goodwill and trust of voters to lead the charge against the Spending Lid scheme/scam, he has instead wasted his undeserved influence on purely partisan support of Senate candidate Pete Ricketts (via robo-calls & radio ads) and a potentially meaningless vote on the fate of elementary-only school districts.
Two weeks ago, I took issue with Heineman's joining a rally in defense of Class I schools because it so paled in importance to the spending lid. Since then, he has dispatched Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy in the same effort while doing absolutely nothing to defeat 423.
If the Spending Lid should pass, Heineman deserves the scorn of future generations for the havoc and suffering he did so little to prevent, offering nothing but pithy opposition to an idea that would turn Nebraska's budgeting process into a bloody and cannibalistic nightmare.
Contrast Heineman's actions with those of the Governors of Oregon and Montana, where similar measures are on the ballot thanks to the machinations of Howard Rich & Co. In those states, both Governors have personally called-out Rich, challenging him to debate them on the merits of his proposal and the disastrous effect it would have on the citizens to whom they must actually answer. Rich, with no ties to either state, of course rejected both requests and will not speak publicly about the millions of dollars he's flooded into their states.
The AP quotes:
"It is unacceptable that the big-money, national anti-government extremists would use our state as a testing ground for their agenda," said Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski, warning that approval of the measure would mean cutbacks to education, social services and law enforcement.
Nebraska's Heineman, on the other hand, has expressed no outrage at Rich's out-of-state manipulation and has only meekly questioned the constraints such measure would place on state government. As he told the Lincoln Journal-Star last weekend:
“Right issue, right message, wrong mechanism,” the governor says.....
“Lid or no lid, you’re going to see a very tight-fisted budget from me next year,” Heineman pledges.
My God, does he even oppose 423? Does he care about the future of this state at all? Or, as per Heineman's "weathervane" reputation, was this just a political calculation to prevent Union support from breaking to his more principled and outspoken opponent, David Hahn?
Regardless of Heineman's disgraceful lack of leadership, I trust the common sense voters of this state will see through the false promise of the Spending Lid and just say NO to 423.
According to the Omaha World-Herald, the Montana-based front that's officially backing the Spending lid in our state, America At Its Best, may be liable for a $140,000 penalty for late filing of its June spending report. Although the penalty would, indeed, be a harsh one, I am glad Nebraska's Accountability and Disclosure Commission are enforcing the law to the fullest extent possible.
An out-of-state interest that can spend almost 2 million dollars manipulating our petition process should be expected to know and respect our laws even if they don't respect the fundamental principles of democracy for and by the people, intead relying on democracy by the dollar.