Originally Published: January 16, 2023
‘We got to try’: North Omaha lawmakers want more money for Economic Recovery Act
OMAHA, Neb. —
Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day over food from Big Mama’s kitchen, North Omaha lawmakers say Black economies have been served a bad check.
State Sens. Terrell McKinney and Justin Wayne say they want to secure more money for their Economic Recovery Act, $335 million approved by the legislature last year.
“For North Omaha, we don’t have a lot of basic infrastructure,” Sen. Justin Wayne said. “So if you want to start a business and open up an office, there isn’t a lot of office space.”
Wayne says he wants the North Omaha lawmakers to secure another $200 million to $300 million up for grabs because of the state’s $1.2 billion surplus. Wayne says it comes from cash transfers and general funds.
“We got to try and get something out of there,” Sen. McKinney said.
McKinney says they have more than 300 project proposals to spend the money on, but only 35 projects were recommended to move forward. More money can include more projects.
In the new legislative session, McKinney took over Wayne’s role as chair of the special committee tasked with the Economic Recovery Act. Both are confident they’ll have enough votes to approve projects this session.
Because the Economic Recovery Act includes dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act, lawmakers have to spend the money by the end of 2026.
“We focus on some large projects and some quick hitters, so those are all things that should be able to be done in 2026,” Sen. Wayne said.