Creating Solutions Together

R’s & D’s

Last Monday, senators were briefed on the proposed second year of the $8.8 billion biennial budget, as drafted by the 9-member Appropriations Committee. Tuesday, the three budget bills opened on General File, so the remaining 40 senators might challenge the mental capacity of those committee members.

If you’re a novice at this unicameral politics thing, you might expect that Neo-Crazy Conservatives would hire a battalion of accountants to deep dive the numbers and find even more severe cuts to the budget than were proposed by our wealthy Governor. They may call it “Less Government – Lower Taxes” but we all know the cuts find their way into the coat pockets of those heartless fiscal butchers.

You might also suppose Progressives would picket in the Rotunda for more taxes that further the cause for the oppressed, women, children, poor, old, undernourished, overnourished, uneducated, unwashed, unemployed, untoothed, same sex, unisex, no sex, lesbian, gay, transgender, transcontinental, queer or questioning, color blind, deaf, gender variant, or just plain lazy.

Au contraire.  The “filibuster de jour” was the unsolvable politics of abortion and Title X funding. Title X is a federal family planning program that sends Nebraska almost $2 million. The Governor proposed eliminating Title X funding for organizations that perform, counsel or refer for abortions, like Planned Parenthood. Oh, the tales those Conservative R’s and Progressive D’s senators did tell. As midnight approached, and the bats circled the Sower, the budget moved to Select File with Title X funding intact. Select File on the budget is scheduled for this Tuesday.

The following link is an updated summary of the legislative races on the May 8 Primary Election ballot. Kudos to those who sign their name on any public office election form. Particularly, the legislative candidates who may spend upwards of $100,000 and knock on thousands of doors, just to be competitive. All for a $12,000 (plus per diem) per year position, that is especially challenging and unbelievably satisfying. And, if they do great job, they’re fired after eight years!

Primary Election Races

Tracking Sheet Priority Bills

LB44 (Watermeier) FINAL READING

Would increase state sales tax revenue through collection of taxes on Internet purchases.

LB829 (Erdman) In Committee

Would enable Nebraska property owners to get a credit or refund on their state income tax return equal to 50% of that portion of their property tax bill, which goes to fund K-12 education.

LB947 (Smith on behalf of the Governor) In Committee

Effective January 1, 2018, each resident who is an owner of a homestead shall be allowed a refundable credit against their income taxes paid, equal to a percentage of the property taxes paid during the taxable year on such homestead, not to exceed 10%. For taxable year 2019 and each taxable year thereafter, the percentage may be increased, not to exceed 30%.

LB994 (Transportation & Telecommunication Committee) GENERAL FILE

Creates a committee to study broadband telecommunications service to unserved and underserved areas in rural Nebraska. The intent states that citizens in rural Nebraska should have comparable broadband service to citizens in urban areas.

LB1103 (Friesen) In Committee

Creates 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.