Nebraska political wonks (and you know who you are) can scarcely contain their jubilation over this week’s legislative agenda. In non-nerd terms, both the major tax bill and the appropriation bill will be debated back-to-back. Insert giddy emoji. Tune in Tuesday at 1:30pm for tax bill LB289, and Wednesday, 8:00am to potentially 11:59pm, to catch the Appropriations Committee defend their proposed biennial budget.
The time for action is past! Now is the time for senseless bickering! – Ashleigh Brilliant
To understand the property tax reform bill (LB289), we must first understand that K-12 education receives approximately $1.04 billion each year from state sales and income tax receipts. K-12 also receives about 60% of the local property taxes we pay on our homes, businesses and lands.
Senator Linehan, chair of the Revenue Committee, introduced, and worked her committee like a Detasseling Crew, to amended LB289, here. Simply put, LB289 replaces some K-12 funding from property taxes with new revenue from sales taxes. The formula is really not that easy, but a wonk would be delighted to call you at home. At the core, we are obligated to educate our kids, and too much of that obligation right now is placed on property tax payers.
Under LB289, state sales tax would grow from 5½¢ to 6¢. Sales tax would also be extended to some items currently exempt from sales tax like pop, candy, bottled water, motor vehicle repairs, ice, parking, maintenance, painting and repairs, etc. Property taxes would then be cut 15% to 40%. Generally, all K-12 schools would get more money under this plan, but The Whales like Omaha and Lincoln Public Schools don’t like the plan. Neither do those whose sales tax exemptions are on the line. Property owners…all together now…”We will, we will rock you.” Let the bickering begin.
The 268 page biennial budget, here, must be adopted by Day 80 (May 22) of the session. The Appropriations Committee proposes a $9.348 billion biennial budget. The budget would grow 3.7% in FY2020 and 2.2% in FY2021, for a two-year average of 3.0%. It’s hard to say how long that squabble will last. First; it’s complicated. Second; few senators, outside the Appropriations Committee and a couple wonks, even understand it. Third; Ernie.
It’s clearly a budget. It’s got a lot of numbers in it. – George W. Bush
NeABA Bills In Play
- LB303 (Lindstrom) Would transfer $51 million each year from the General Fund to the Property Tax Credit Fund
- LB184 (Friesen) Creates the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act for the next generation of wireless communications – 5G
Advanced to the Governor
- LB227 (Hughes) Nuisance bill. If a farming operation existed prior to changes in surrounding land use remains unchanged a farm or warehouse could retain right-to-farm protections for changes to the farming operation or public grain warehouse operations. A farm or warehouse shall not be found to be a nuisance if reasonable measures are employed to minimize dust, odors, etc. and the farm or grain warehouse complies with applicable laws and regulations, including zoning; and there is no significant change in the operation, the farm or warehouse has been in operation more than 1 year and was not a nuisance when it began.
Approved by the Governor
- LB243 (Gragert) Creates the Healthy Soils Task Force to develop a comprehensive healthy soils initiative, and an action plan to carry out the initiative using specified standards as measures to assess improved soil health. With the assistance from outside resources, the task force shall examine how to provide farmers with research, education, technical assistance, and demonstration projects; examine options for financial incentives to improve soil health; and examine the contribution of livestock to soil health. The task force is to create a timeline to improve soil health within 5 years after completion of the action plan. The task force shall submit its action plan, as well as their findings and recommendations, by January 1, 2021. There are two slots on the committee for agribusiness members.
- LB284 (McCollister) Internet sales tax collection bill requires remote sellers (those without a physical presence in the state) and/or “marketplace facilitators” to collect and remit sales tax beginning July 1, 2019 if their gross revenue from sales into the state exceed $100,000, and sales into the state exceed 200 or more separate transaction in the same time period.
- LB320 (Albrecht) Brings provisions of the Pesticide Act into alignment with revisions to the Certification of Pesticide Applicators Rule, which establishes standards for state programs to certify persons applying restricted use pesticides (RUPs), training/competency to be demonstrated by applicators to obtain certification and licensure, and related record keeping. The revisions increase Federal applicator certification program standards, enhance pesticide safety training and standards for supervision of noncertified applicators, and establish a minimum age requirement for noncertified applicators using RUPs under the direct supervision of a certified applicator. States have until March, 2020 to submit to EPA revised certification plans that comply with the updated rule requirements.