University of Nebraska Medical Center officials joined a top union official and other boosters to talk up the value of a proposed cancer treatment and research facility and to lobby for a controversial $35 million cigarette tax to support it.
One day before the City Council is set to vote on a 4.5 percent tax on local tobacco sales, the project's supporters used a Monday morning press conference to stress the project's potential to stimulate Omaha's economy with a wave of new jobs and new development on UNMC's campus and in midtown Omaha.
"It is absolutely the best thing you could ask for," said Terry Moore, president of the Omaha Federation of Labor. "This is a dream job, an unbelievable opportunity for our city and our state."
Last week, UNMC officials and public health advocates squared off against business owners, industry groups and lobbyists during a lengthy public hearing on the proposed tax.
The 4.5 percent tax would generate roughly $5 million off the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products this year — and a total of $40.7 million by 2021, according to a revenue forecast compiled by the city's Finance Department.