BIG DARN DEAL
Priority bills are a BIG DARN DEAL! Beginning this week, bills without a priority designation, move straight to the bottom of the floor debate agenda. It’s quite similar to standing in the Priority Lane for a three-hour Southwest flight, only to learn that you have been bumped to Boarding Group C, position 60+.
By Friday, each senator must designate their lone priority bills, or lose it. Committees must pick their two priorities. The Speaker announces his twenty priority choices on February 25. See the PRIORITY BILLS link below.
Speaking of BIG DARN DEALS, the Revenue Committee prioritized and advanced LB 974 to General File, their latest attempt to provide property tax relief. Nebraska property taxes are sky-high. Have been for more than a decade. WalletHub, the gospel, when compared to other research firms, ranks Nebraska’s real estate taxes 44th highest in the country. Jersey tops that list.
Opposition to significant property tax relief comes from public K-12 administrators and school boards, as well as the teachers’ union. Generally, 50% to 60% of local property taxes collected funnel directly to our 249 public school districts. That’s in addition to state funding of $1.3 billion, or 29% of the state general fund budget.
Public education views property taxes as a stable source of revenue. Shifting more of their funding source away from property taxpayers to sales and income taxes unnerves educators because the Legislature and Governor would have greater control of their wallets. That’s precisely what LB 974 does.
Another BIG DARN DEAL is LB 720, the Chamber of Commerce’s latest attempt to revise business incentives. The bill failed to pass last year but is modified by an “easy read” (not) 124-page amendment. LB 720 is at odds with LB 974. Both need to pass this session, but the two bills compete for state funds. Most urban senators support business incentives, while most rural senators support property tax relief. Get set for Round 2 between two BIG DARN DEAL heavyweights.
- LB974 PRIORITY BILL (Revenue Committee / MONITOR) Bill to reduce property taxes.
- LB803 (Hughes / MONITOR) Pulse Crop Resources Act creates a checkoff program for dry peas, lentils, chickpeas or garbanzo beans, faba beans, and lupine
- LB919 (Wayne / MONITOR) Hemp cultivator, processor-handler, and broker license and renewal applications shall only be denied if they are incomplete or deficient, including for nonpayment of the required application and registration fees, or if the applicant does not meet minimum qualifications.
- LB946 (Briese / MONITOR) Lower sales tax rate and eliminate exemption on services. Service includes all activities that are engaged in for other persons for a consideration and that involve predominantly the performance of a service as distinguished from selling or leasing tangible personal property.
- LB1084 (Kolterman / MONITOR) Nebraska Transformational Project Act. allows UNMC to apply for $300 million dollars of state matching funds if they receive a commitment of at least $1.3 billion dollars in federal or private funds to fund a project with an economic impact of at least $2.7 billion dollars during the planning and construction period and at least $4.9 billion over a ten-year period.
- LB1159 (Stinner / SUPPORT) Extends the initial training period for a non-certified pesticide applicator from 60 to 120 days prior to obtaining an initial commercial or noncommercial applicator license. The bill also authorizes unlimited exam attempts for the noncertified applicator during that training period.