Monday, March 20, 2006

Gubernatorial Debate in Omaha

Link to debate sponsor, Omaha ABC affiliate KETV web article.

Thoughts: All three are for some form of tax cuts, but only Osbourne is stating that the real problem is spending. He also wants to reform the tax code. I like Nabity's idea of a flat state income tax rate & the elimination of the estate tax. Heineman touts the recently passed spending cuts, but Nabity points out that this was only 1/10 of 1 percent of the state budget. The Governor seems to believe that it will take some time to reduce taxes -- mentions tax creep over the last 10 years and thinks it should take us about the same amount of time to reduce. ?!! He wants to focus on income, sales and property taxes this year (what's left?). All three appear to be in favor of some type of government streamlining, but Osbourne's ideas seem to more developed in this case (Believes up to $350 million could be saved). Not sure if Warren Buffet would be my first choice to head the efficiency commission though.

OPS/Schools issues -- Heineman is against the proposed merger, Nabity wants to turn it on its head (have the suburban districts take over 23 OPS schools), and Osbourne wants to get the parties together and find a solution without going to court. No mention of what the law actually is, or whether or not the merger is a good idea, although no one appears to think it is. All propose to revamp the state aid formula.

Crime: Everyone seems to agree that penalties should be stiffer and more money should be made available for treatment, counseling and monitoring for sex offender/meth addiction. Nabity comes out for Concealed permits. Osbourne mentions sentencing is particularly haphazard.

Jobs: Osbourne promotes education and technology, Heineman points to the incentive plan recently passed by the legislature and his trip to Cuba, and Nabity believes tax cuts will make the state more attractive for new business.

Immigration: All three say the Feds are failing in their job, but welcome hard working legal immmigrants to the state. Osbourne points to a proposal he has before the US House that would involve employers and a 3 year guest worker program.

Impressions: Heineman frequently touts his record, but seems a bit defensive overall. I don't think he's had the job long enough to make a big impression on most voters. Osbourne is still clearly the front runner on name recognition alone, has some good ideas but appears indecisive on some issues. Nabity is way behind but has a lot of serious proposals that could gain some traction if he could get his message out & people took the time to look at them seriously.

Unscientific OWH online poll on just over 2000 votes as of 10 am this morning has TO way ahead just over 3:1 over Heineman. Nabity is running behind TO 8:1 Looking good for the Coach.

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