Wilkommen, bienvenue, welcome, im cabaret, au cabaret, to cabaret! As a stagehand prepares to ring down the curtain on Act II of our little legislative melodrama, our attention turns to the box office. Money money money money money money. Isn’t it always about the money? Like most states, we don’t have enough it.
Two months ago, the budget (1/27/16 to 6/30/19) was $895.2 million short. That was a snapshot in time. The final snapshot on June 2 will determine if the reviews are boffo or busto. Constitutionally, the budget must balance. And yet, the Revenue and Appropriations Committees continue script rewrites for Act III.
Look for the Revenue Committee to play the old shell game. LB 461 is their catch-all vehicle for initiatives that would reduce income tax; cap annual valuation growth on agricultural land; increase state aid to schools while reducing their maximum property tax levy and increase state income tax credits.
The Appropriations Committee unveils their budget on April 21; repeat with carnival mirrors and smoke machines. The budgets of most state departments have already been cut, with more cuts on the table. $100+ million will be swept from their cash funds. The question mein Freund is how much money money money money money money will be swiped from the State Rainy Day Fund?
Life is a cabaret ol’ chum!
Four bills on our list are Prioritized and have a chance at passing this session:
- LB 44 (Watermeier) General File. Requires Internet sellers to collect and remit Nebraska sales tax.
- LB 144 (Friesen) In Committee. Change agricultural and horticultural adjusted valuations for calculating state aid to schools.
- LB 173 (Morfeld) General File. Prohibit discrimination based upon sexual orientation and gender identity.
- LB 276 (Albrecht) General File. Change provisions relating to hybrid seed corn definition and labeling.