Don’t skip duty on budget hearings

This week, local governing entities will finalize budgets. Soon after that, county boards across Nebraska will set officially the levies to disperse the tax load among property owners. It's a process that happens every year, and it usually comes off without much public scrutiny.

The lack of attention is unfortunate.

Budget-setting meetings ought to be the most heavily attended public meetings of the year because what happens at those meetings directly affects individuals, business operators and farmers. Taxes they pay on the property they own support schools, municipalities, counties, natural resource districts, community colleges and other entities.

Yet few people, if any, will be at the meetings to witness the budgets or levies being approved. The apparent lack of interest is a sign that people trust their elected officials to make the best decisions, or that they believe they have better things to do, like cutting the grass.

By not taking an interest, Nebraskans risk getting the government they deserve. In a democracy such as ours, there is no substitute for watchfulness.

- Kearney Hub

Nebraska’s business climate is booming

The latest compilation of the country's 5,000 fastest-growing private companies reflects well on Nebraska. Twenty-six businesses made the list, showing that Nebraska is a place where energetic men and women can do business and achieve success.

The list of Nebraska businesses, by Inc. magazine, covers a gamut of industries, including business services, medical staffing, legal work, real estate and IT specializations. The 26 firms are in Omaha, Lincoln or Fremont.

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The top 10 in Nebraska: City Ventures (real estate); Mobile Text Alerts (software); CapStone Technologies (business products and services); Dynamo (business products and services); Flywheel (IT management); Ecomitize (IT system development); Atlas MedStaff (health); Fusion Medical Staffing (health); Hilgers Graben (legal services); and Onestaff Medical (health).

Opportunity arises in all sorts of business niches. Several of the 26 firms handle travel staffing for health care jobs, demonstrating Omaha's status as a regional hub for the business sector.Nebraska offers a business-friendly culture, a competitive cost of living and appealing civic amenities. That's a winning combination providing a welcome foundation for entrepreneurial success.

- Omaha World-Herald

Drop hammer on vaping industry

At least six users have died in recent weeks from lung ailments caused by inhaling vapor infused with ingredients that aren't entirely known to regulators. The vaping industry has been around for about a decade, yet the regulatory framework governing it remains in its infancy as users poison themselves.

E-cigarettes were once hailed as a revolutionary way to help millions of smokers wean themselves off cancer-causing tobacco cigarettes. Around the time they were introduced, an average of 435,000 people were dying prematurely each year from smoking-related diseases.

So E-cigarettes seemed like a genuine life saver. But there's no escaping the downside: This new technology is just a more efficient way of delivering nicotine to feed user's addictions.

About 3.62 million middle and high school students used e-cigarettes in 2018. From 2017 to 2018, e-cigarette use jumped 78% among high school students and 48% among middle school students.

Common sense would dictate that people know what they're inhaling before they allow it into their lungs. But common sense doesn't always prevail, especially among young people and when vaping products are marketed as safe when no federal regulatory agency has deemed them so.

- St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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