Wednesday, April 18, marks Day 60, the final day of this “longest” short legislative session since the Nebraska Unicameral first convened in 1937. Virtually every bill of consequence was filibustered, requiring 33 votes to advance. Many could not reach 33.
State General Fund receipts are in the tank, and March General Fund net receipts were down 9.5 percent,
Net receipts for March were $306 million, which is 9.5% below the certified forecast of $337 million. Without new money, legislation that would expand spending for the Save Our _________ (insert name) did not see daylight.
There was no property and/or income tax reform this session, scuttling very serious efforts by the Governor, agriculture and business community. This inaction may very well be the senators’ most consequential decision of the year. Reform for Nebraska’s Future will surely gather the required 85,000 valid signatures of registered voters by July 5 to place a $1.1 billion shift from property taxes to sales and income taxes on the November Primary Election ballot.
Legislation of “universal interest” that passed so this session:
- Revisions to the budget. Great credit goes to the Appropriations Committee and chairman Stinner for keeping this rust bucket budget afloat.
- LB 1009 – Increases speed limits on two-lane paved roads from 60 to 65 mph; state expressway system from 65 to 70 mph; and freeways, but not part of the interstate from 65 to 70 mph.
- LB 1090 – Allows the $134 personal exemption credit repealed by the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Establishes the standard deduction as $6,750 for single taxpayers and $9,900 for head of household filers. The standard deductions for married, filing jointly returns is double the standard deduction for single returns.
- That’s about it.
The agenda for Wednesday is loaded with 25 bills on Final Reading. They will all likely pass. But, there’s “Danger, Will Robinson” of a pocket veto. The Governor has five days (except Sunday) to sign or veto each bill. So with the Legislature adjourned, the Governor has until the 24th to veto a bill without fear of a legislative override…because they’re GONE!
Tracking Sheet Priority Bills
LB44 (Watermeier) DEAD.
Would increase state sales tax revenue through collection of taxes on Internet purchases.
LB829 (Erdman) DEAD.
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 for the Governor) DEAD.
As amended, property tax payers would receive a refundable credit against income taxes paid, beginning 2018. A refundable credit on income taxes paid for homesteads begins at 1% and caps at 20% over ten years. Agricultural and horticultural credit on income taxes paid begins at 2% and caps at 20% over 10 years.
LB994 (Friesen) PRESENTED TO THE GOVERNOR.
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) DEAD.
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.