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The Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Thursday pointed to workforce development and a reduction in the state's highest individual income tax rate as its priority legislative objectives for 2019.

The chamber said it also will support legislative initiatives to improve the delivery of public services and increase the overall efficiency of state and local governments.

The Legislature will launch its 2019 session on Jan. 9.

"Recent Nebraska Chamber surveys of business leaders have found that the overwhelming majority of respondents say their communities or businesses face a workforce shortage," the Chamber stated in a news release.

"Because Nebraska's economic growth depends on talent supply, the State Chamber will support policies and programs aimed at growing, educating and improving Nebraska's workforce."

That includes the state-administered Intern Nebraska program and customized job training as well as career academies that focus on specific vocational skills in high school and junior high.

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Currently, Nebraska's top individual income tax rate is 6.84 percent on earnings just above $30,000, which is the nation's 15th highest state income tax rate, the Chamber stated.

Nebraska's maximum 7.81 percent corporate income tax rate is also the 15th highest in the country, the business organization said, and should be harmonized with a reduced individual income tax rate.

"The state's high income tax burden is negatively affecting economic growth and job creation and makes the Cornhusker State less competitive," the Chamber stated.

"The Chamber will oppose efforts to increase state sales and income tax rates, as well as legislation to expand the state sales tax base on business inputs or further earmark tax revenue for specific state spending." 

Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or dwalton@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSDon.

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Political reporter

Don Walton, a Husker and Yankee fan, is a longtime Journal Star political and government reporter.

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