Enjoy the fireworks last night? Then you will get a real kick out of the remaining 17 days in the Unicameral’s session beginning July 20.
Let’s begin with that top-of-mind topic – Tax Receipts! To be more precise, Nebraska’s Net General Fund tax receipts for the first eleven months of this biennium (July 2019 through May 2020). Interestingly, receipts of $4.431 billion are only $6 million short of the $4.437 certified forecast. Not bad considering April fell $326 million short of the projection. May bounced back with a shortfall of “only” $7 million.
Keep in mind that Nebraska received $1.83 billion from the federal government’s CARES Act to help in the recovery of the economy due to COVID-19.
The Department of Revenue will report June receipts on July 15, and the Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board meets July 23 to determine likely revenue receipts for the immediate future. Look for more clarity after both reports are released.
The Gang of 10 has yet to produce funding solutions for property tax relief and business incentives. Senators are diplomatic and divided on both issues. According to Will Rogers, diplomacy is the art of saying “Nice doggie” until you can find a rock.
General Election Ballot Initiatives
Supporters of the use, possession, access, and production of cannabis and its products and materials for serious medical conditions, as recommended by a physician or nurse practitioner, delivered 182,000 signatures to the Secretary of State. That is 60,000 more than the amount required.
Expanded gambling proponents submitted three petitions to the Secretary of State that would create “racinos” at racetracks in Omaha, Lincoln, Grand Island, Columbus, South Sioux City, and Hastings.
If passed, one initiative would amend the state constitution to allow all games of chance at racinos. The second creates a law to regulate expanded gambling, and the third proposes a law to collect and distribute taxes to the Property Tax Credit Fund, the city or county in which the racino is located, and the state’s Compulsive Gamblers Assistance Fund.
LB803 (Hughes) MONITOR – SPEAKER PRIORITY BILL
- Creates a new promotional checkoff program for pulse crops, including dry peas, lentils, chickpeas or garbanzo beans, faba beans, and lupine. The bill also expands a waiver of a distance limitation for overweight/oversize vehicles transporting crops to include pulse crops.
LB1084 (Kolterman / MONITOR)
- The Nebraska Transformational Project Act would provide $300 million in state funding to the University of Nebraska Medical Center for their NExT Project. Before receiving $300 million, UNMC must show the economic impact to Nebraska is at least $2.7 billion during the planning and construction period and at least $4.9 billion over ten years.
- NExT Project has two components: a state of the art academic medical center facility and a federal all-hazard disaster response military and civilian partnership.
LB1159 (Stinner) SUPPORT
- Extends the initial training period for a noncertified 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.
Held In Committee
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)
- The bill lowers the sales tax rate and eliminates exemptions 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.
Failed to Advance
LB974 (Linehan) MONITOR – REVENUE COMMITTEE PRIORITY BILL
- A complex property tax reduction and school funding bill. As amended by AM2433, the bill would reduce property taxes as a significant source of funding for K-12 education. Unless expressly exempt:
- Real property would be valued at 95% of actual value for the tax year 2020, 91% in the tax year 2021, and 86% in 2022 and after that.
- Agricultural and horticultural land would be valued at 65% of actual value in the tax year 2020, for purposes of taxes levied by a school district and 75% of actual value for taxes levied by other political subdivisions.
- Agricultural and horticultural land would be valued at 60% of actual value in the tax year 2021, for purposes of taxes levied by a school district and 75% of actual value for taxes levied by other political subdivisions.
- Agricultural and horticultural land would be valued at 55% of actual value in the tax year 2022, and each tax year after that, for purposes of taxes levied by a school district and 75% of actual value for taxes levied by other