Step Right Up
Big News!! The “Super Seven” (not to be confused with the previous Gang of Ten) may have arrived at a compromise to reduce property taxes. The Legislature’s Bill Drafters are writing an amendment to Priority Bill, LB 930 so we can actually read the bill…before they pass it. Language may be available Monday. See the rumored details below under General File.
Friday morning, senators were pushing their green buttons like carnies punching Tilt-A-Whirl tickets at the State Fair. They sent thirty-five bills to the Governor’s desk for signature, including the all important adjusted budget.
Senator Ernie Chambers spent much of last week on the microphone. The rhetoric has not changed in more than forty years. Like a carnival barker, he attacked the Governor, condemned Republicans, and disparaged the vast majority of people in the state. Chambers did pass a bill. Likely his last. The 83-year-old term-limited (again) senator passed anti-bias and implicit bias police training legislation. Fitting.
A public hearing was held Friday afternoon for the recently introduced Municipal Police Oversight Act (LB 1222), a nod to BLM. The bill requires that any city employing full-time police officers shall create a seven-member citizen oversight board empowered to investigate all cases of alleged police misconduct in addition to other powers and authority. Cities and police departments are strongly opposed. They are a strong lobby.
Seven more legislative days (Mo-Th this week / Tu-Th next week) until this midway closes for the season. Priority bills on Final Reading and Select File will litter the agenda. Most of the public will not notice if bills pass or fail, but pay attention to the business incentive package in LB 720 and the new LB 930 property tax relief bill. It’s doubtful that one bill will advance without the other.
Thursday, August 6, is the final day for senators to advance bills to the Governor, without fear of the dreaded Pocket Veto. By rule, the Governor is allowed up to five days (excluding Sunday) to approve or veto a bill. With a four-day recess this Friday through Monday, August 12 and 13 are the last days in which the Legislature can attempt veto overrides. After that…check his pockets.
Advanced to the Governor
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) NOW AN AMENDMENT TO LB 720, THE CHAMBER’S BUSINESS INCENTIVES
- 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.
LB930 (Briese) PRIORITY BILL – THE LATEST PROPERTY TAX RELIEF ATTEMPT
- Retains the state’s annual $275 contribution to the Property Tax Credit Fund and sets this amount as the fund minimum. Distribution to property taxpayers is based on the value of their property.
- Year 1: Creates another $125 million Property Tax Credit Fund. Distribution to taxpayers would be based on property taxes paid.
- Year 2: Adds new tax revenue that exceeds 3.5% growth in the state budget (up to $125 million) to the new PTCF.
- Year 3: Any unappropriated revenue from the prior year that exceeds 3.5% growth (up to $125 million), carries over to the next year.
- The goal is to grow the Property Tax Credit Fund to $650 million.
- Potential revenue from the racetrack gambling ballot initiative would add to the fund.
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 others