Creating Solutions Together

A work in progress

Wednesday, Governor Ricketts appeared before the Legislature’s Revenue Committee to unveil his Nebraska Property Tax Cuts and Opportunities Act (LB947). Give the Gov credit, the bill touches all the bases:

  • Lowers income tax brackets and rates
  • Lowers the corporate tax rate
  • Lowers property taxes

As you can imagine, this bill has more moving parts than a chorus line of six-year-old tap dancers. Further explanation is necessary, but we don’t have that kind of time. Let’s just say that after months of negotiating and renegotiating, LB947 is “a work in progress.”

Indeed, the Governor said that multiple times. So did the bill introducer, Sen. Smith. So did agricultural associations. So did the business community. And that means?  No one is fully on board, yet. More tax relief bills are in play, so hang tight.

If you should tilt at windmills, Thursday’s 3-hour hearing on LB1054 was right up your wind tunnel. Senator Tom Brewer, lives in the sandhills and many constituents don’t want windmills and transmission lines cluttering the landscape.  Wind developers know that his district is windy and wide open. Perfect for wind farms. This is a classic tug-of-war between the NIMBY people (Not In My Back Yard) and the CIMBY people (Capitalist Intentions for Money By Yearning). Yeah, CIMBY is made-up, but you get the point.

Crowd favorite legislative hearings next week:  LB1133 – Industrial Hemp Act; LB1009 – increases highway speed limits; LB726 – insurance coverage for in vitro fertilization; LB1066 – voter photo ID and LB293CA – medical cannabis.


What’s Up?

LB994 is scheduled for hearing on Monday in the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee. The bill was introduced to assist in enhanced broadband telecommunications service to unserved and underserved areas in rural Nebraska. It states intent that citizens in rural Nebraska should have comparable broadband service to citizens in urban areas. The bill creates a Rural Broadband Study Task Force, and would require a change in contributions methodology to the Nebraska Universal Service Fund. It allows the Public Service Commission to consider a reverse auction program if current providers were not providing appropriate service to customers. It also allows the Public Service Commission to maintain a registry of locations where there is a lack of coverage for wireless communications, and the PSC will use that information to determine where to award grants for the building of wireless towers.

LB1103 has a hearing in the Education Committee on Tuesday.  The bill would lower property taxes by creating foundation aid that is the greater of 25% of the basic funding calculated for a school district or the total amount certified for a local system, proportionally based on the formula students attributed to each district.