Follow the Money
The Appropriations Committee delivered their $1.526 billion-ish FY2021-22 / FY2022-23 biennial budget proposal to senators last Thursday. According to Speaker Hilgers, General File budget debate begins Thursday. If you remember nothing else about this budget, remember this: The State is FLUUUSH with cash!!
Hard to believe, right? A year ago, the State’s projected FY22/FY23 financial status was a cool $787.5 million short of the minimum reserve. Why the turnaround? State revenues (taxes) remained strong, economists forecast that our economy will remain stable, State departments spent less, K-12 required fewer state funds, and COVID relief dollars sure helped. Speaking of economists, “If all economists were laid end to end, they’d never reach a conclusion” – George Bernard Shaw.
The State Rainy Day Fund is projected to increase from $412 million to a very hefty $763 million.
This includes $50 million stashed on the slightest chance the United States Space Command Headquarters dumps their Huntsville, AL decision in favor of Bellevue. Crooked smiley face emoji.
There is also $211 million on the table for new spending initiatives. Senators have many, like lowering property taxes and/or corporate income taxes, new funding for K-12 education, building dams on the Platte River, expanding broadband in rural areas, etc.
The budget also includes $115 million toward a new $230 million multicustody (new word to me) correctional facility (between Omaha and Lincoln) with the capacity to house approximately 1,512 inmates.
Budget debate may not be your cup of java, but if your home in a COVID fog, tune in to NET Thursday. Appropriations Committee Chair John Stinner. He’s a real leader, and worth the price of of admission.
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
- 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
- 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 Bill) – 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 to raise their property tax levies.
- AM747 (Pending) Political subdivision includes any public corporation created for the benefit of a political subdivision.
- 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 tax with a consumption tax and directs the Legislature to enact a consumption tax.
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.
- LB239 (Hilkemann) INDEFINITELY POSTPONED – MONITOR – Restricts phone use to hands-free only while driving.
- 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.
- LB672 (Murman) SUPPORT – Changes the sales and use tax exemption on agricultural machinery and equipment.
- LR5 (Graegert) MONITOR – Recommendations from the Healthy Soils Task Force delivered to the Legislature.