The World-Herald’s Statehouse reporters round up news highlights from the Legislature and state government into the Capitol Digest — a daily briefing for the political newshound with a busy schedule.

Admiralship revoked. A former campaign staffer of Gov. Pete Ricketts who was tied to racist posts on a white supremacist chat room has lost his commission as an admiral in the mythical Nebraska Navy.

Ricketts revoked the honor on March 13, two days after the governor said he was “shocked and horrified” by anti-Jewish, homophobic and racist posts attributed to the former campaign worker, Bennett Bressman.

It wasn’t the first time the Republican governor has defrocked an officer in the Great Navy of Nebraska.

In 2018, he took away the honors from a University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor and a graduate student/lecturer who had confronted a UNL student who was recruiting for a conservative group.

TIF for “extreme blighted areas.” State Sen. Justin Wayne got some static during debate Monday over his proposal to provide more generous tax-increment financing benefits to those who develop in “extreme blighted areas,” such as portions of his north Omaha district and other areas of Nebraska where unemployment exceeds 200 percent of the state level.

Wayne’s proposed constitutional amendment, Legislative Resolution 14CA — if approved by voters in 2020 — would allow cities to extend TIF benefits for up to 20 years in certain “extreme blighted areas,” instead of the standard 15 years. (TIF devotes the increased property taxes generated by a new building or complex to repay some of the development costs.)

The senator said it is wrong to provide the same TIF benefits to “my community” as to a development at 72nd and Dodge, like the Crossroads Mall.

But Sen. Mike Groene of North Platte, who believes that TIF is an unnecessary government giveaway, opposed the proposal during floor debate and predicted that cities would use funny business to make projects qualify.

Monday’s debate on LR 14CA ended before a vote on its advancement could be taken.

Capitol Digest reporters photo xcapitoldigest capitoldigest

From left, World-Herald legislative reporters Martha Stoddard, Paul Hammel and Aaron Hegarty.

— Paul Hammel

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Reporter - Regional/state issues

Paul covers state government and affiliated issues. He specializes in tax and transportation issues, following the governor and the state prison system. Follow him on Twitter @PaulHammelOWH. Phone: 402-473-9584.

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