The Legislature’s proposed 2-year $9.7 billion budget advanced to Select File last Friday. The Unicameral Update Page does an excellent job in summary.
General File Floor debate can be like watching a mother goose protect her goslings. Picture Appropriations Committee Chair John Stinner (Gering) fending off senators with his DAD VOICE before picking off vulnerable cash funds. No, the debate wasn’t always collegial. Some folks raised their voices, and at times, emotions ran frighteningly high. All for naught.
The Committee budget remains whole. However, for actual entertainment value, you can’t beat the symbolic removal of a rogue senator’s knees in attempting to reappropriate millions of dollars. Not only because it’s humiliating, but it’s also in public…on television…on social media, and in front of Mom and Dad.
The Rainy Day Fund (cash reserve) increases to a very respectable $733 million. After all the cussing and discussing, $211 million remains up for grabs to fund marvelous new legislative initiatives.
Governor Ricketts’ $230 million, five-year proposal dealing with overcrowding at the aging State Pen advanced to Select File. The plan begins with a $14.9 million design, study, and securing land options between Omaha and Lincoln. That would be where an available workforce lives!
A real highlight of the budget process is when senators approve their $12,000 a year salary. Two unoriginal thoughts:
- 1) You get what you pay for.
- 2) They know the pay before running for office.
In response: Number one is stupid. Number two, thank goodness most of them don’t care.
Approved by the Governor
LB177 (Lindstrom) SUPPORT – Increases the time for the perfection of Fertilizer and Agricultural Chemical Liens, and increases the time for the perfection of Seed Lien or Electrical Power/Energy Liens from the current sixty (60) days to one hundred twenty (120) days after the last delivery of goods or services covered by these respective liens.
- LB507 (Bostelman) (Natural Resources Priority) SUPPORT
- AM256 (Hughes) (Adopted) Adds antelope and elk to depredation season. Also redefines elector for any irrigation district which borders another state, comprises less than 2,000 acres and one-half or more landowners, etc. are not Nebraska residents.
- AM365 (Hughes) (Adopted) One-time fund transfer from the Water Sustainability Fund to the Department of Natural Resources.
- AM567 (J. Cavanaugh) (Adopted) The use of seed that is treated, as defined in section 81-2,147.01, in the production of agricultural ethyl alcohol shall be prohibited if such use results in the generation of a byproduct that is deemed unsafe for livestock consumption or land application.
- AM786 (Gragert) (Pending) Dilatory amendment would repeal the following:
- Definition of terms in the Irrigation District Act
- Water Sustainability Fund
- Special deer depredation season
- State Park Cash Revolving Fund
- The Ethanol Development Act
- State Parks Game Law
- AM859 (Hughes) (Placeholder)
- LB84 (Bostelman) (Speaker Priority) MONITOR – Changes provisions relating to tax incentive performance audits and redefines a term under the ImagiNE Nebraska Act
- LB90 (Halloran) MONITOR – Amends the Nebraska Pesticide Act by reallocating the pesticide registration fee distribution. It further amends the Nebraska Commercial Fertilizer and Soil Conditioner Act by allowing the Director to adjust the inspection fee each July 1.
- LB91 (Brandt) MONITOR – Expands the date after germination or viability testing that native flower and grass seeds may continue to be sold or offered for sale without retesting and allowing seed viability testing instead of germination rate testing for certain seeds.
- AM96 (Pending) Defines native and nonnative plant species, seed germination, storage, testing, viability, and sales.
- LB432 (Revenue Committee Priority) – MONITOR – Income tax shell bill.
- AM774 (Pending) The following bills on our tracking sheet are amended into LB432:
- LB680 (Linehan) Beginning 2022, the corporate income tax rate for taxable income above $100,000 will be reduced from 7.81% to 6.84%. The new rate match the top individual income tax rate.
- LB564 (McDonnell) Adds apprenticeship programs to the definition of qualified higher education expense in the Nebraska Educational Savings Plan Trust (NEST)
- LB644 (B. Hansen Priority) MONITOR – Property Tax Request Act to increase transparency for impacted political subdivisions that raise their property tax levies.
- AM755 (Halloran) Better defines political subdivision, public meeting criteria, property tax requests, and notification of the public.
- AM854 (Halloran) When property tax valuation, as determined by a county assessor, is deemed in excessive, the overpayment amount shall be returned to the taxpayer. The unpaid balance shall accrue nine percent interest. Political subdivisions can no longer claim hardship to delay repayment of funds.
- LR11CA (Erdman Priority Resolution) MONITOR – Resolution for a constitutional amendment for a consumption tax. LR11CA changes the way taxes are collected and replaces the income tax, the sales tax, the property tax, and the inheritance
Held In Committee
- LB52 (Lathrop) MONITOR – Immunity for injury or death resulting from COVID-19 exposure.
- LB79 (Briese) MONITOR – Changes the minimum amount of relief provided under the Property Tax Credit Act.
- LB133 (Erdman) MONITOR – Adopts a consumption tax and eliminates other taxes.
- LB139 (Briese) (Slama Priority) MONITOR – Provides general safe harbor and premises liability protections on potential COVID-19 lawsuits.
- LB290 (M. Cavanaugh) OPPOSE – Adopts the Paid Family & Medical Leave Insurance Act.
- LB329 (Wayne) MONITOR – The minimum average wholesale gasoline price would be $2.44.
- AM411 (Pending) The amendment provides employers with tax incentives for hiring felons, including those on parole or probation.
- LB422 (Briese) MONITOR – Reduce state sales tax from 5.5 cents to 5 cents and eliminate some sales tax exemptions.
- LB430 (Revenue) MONITOR – Property tax shell bill.
- LB433 (Revenue) MONITOR – Sales tax shell bill.
- LB483 (J Cavanaugh) MONITOR – Creates a $250,000 climate change study and plan.
- LB543 (Brandt) SUPPORT – Agricultural Equipment Right-To-Repair-Act.
- AM284 – Compreshesive rewrite including definitions of documentation, fair and reasonable terms, software, etc.
- LB622 (Friesen) MONITOR – Limits real property valuations’ growth and provides adjustments to assessed values.
- LB625 (Vargas) MONITOR – Imposes a surtax on certain taxable income and uses the tax proceeds for early childhood education.
- LB634 (J. Cavanaugh) OPPOSE – Provides a cause of action for unsafe disposal of treated seed. The bill is no longer in play due to passage of Sen. Cavanaugh’s AM567 to LB507.
- LB672 (Murman) SUPPORT – Changes the sales and use tax exemption on agricultural machinery and equipment.
- LR5 (Gragert) MONITOR – Recommendations from the Healthy Soils Task Force delivered to the Legislature.
- LB239 (Hilkemann) MONITOR – Restricts phone use to hands-free only while driving.