Quite a Week
The Legislature is adjourned until Wednesday when they reconvene to address bills vetoed by the Governor (if there are any) and take a position on LR134, a resolution outlining the criteria to be used by the Legislature during the 2021 redistricting process. Thursday, the 107th Legislature, First Session will adjourn sine die.
With only four days last week to move legislation to the Governor’s desk, bills were flying and dying like mallards fleeing Desoto National Wildlife Refuge.
Despite considerable whining, complaining, and filibustering, most bills of any significance advanced from Final Reading to Governor Ricketts’ desk. Those remaining on Final Reading, Select File, General File, and held by a committee, carry over to 2022.
When politicians talk about tax relief as their top priority, most of us push the mute button. But not this year! Without a doubt, this Legislature delivered the most meaningful tax cuts that Nebraskans have seen in a very long time.
- Property Tax Relief Fund – The fund increased by $574 million bring total property tax relief for the next biennium (7/1/21 to 6/30/23) to over $1.45 billion.
- Nebraska Property Tax Incentive Act – Provides $626 million in the upcoming biennium for refundable income tax credits to individuals, corporations, fiduciaries, and financial institutions that pay property taxes to their school districts.
- Sales Tax – LB26: Eliminates sales tax on residential water use in October 2022.
- Social Security Benefits – LB64: Cuts state income tax on social security benefits by: 5% in 2021 / 20% in 2022 / 30% in 2023 / 40% in 2024 / 50% in 2025. The Legislature intends to cut an additional 10% each year until reaching zero tax on Social Security benefits in 2030.
- Military Retirement Benefits – LB387: Eliminates income tax on military retirement benefits beginning January 1, 2022. Nebraska becomes the 32nd state not to tax these benefits.
- Corporate Tax Rate – LB432:
- 2022 – Cut to 5.58% for the first $100K of taxable income. Above $100K remains 7.75%.
- 2023 – Remains 5.58% for the first $100K and 7.25% above $100K.
- 2024 – Intends to cut the taxable rate above $100K to 7%.
- 2025 – Intends to cut the taxable rate above $100K to 6.84%, matching Nebraska’s highest tax rate for personal income
Approved by the Governor
- 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.
- 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) 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) One-time fund transfer from the Water Sustainability Fund to the Department of Natural Resources.
- AM567 (J. Cavanaugh) 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.
- AM859 (Hughes) The bill, as amended, becomes law upon the Governor’s signature.
- LR5 (Gragert) MONITOR – The Legislature acknowledges the report, findings, and recommendations that the Healthy Soils Task Force submitted to the Governor and the Agriculture Committee of the Legislature.
Presented to the Governor
- LB84 (Bostelman) (Speaker Priority) MONITOR – Changes provisions relating to tax incentive performance audits and redefines a term under the ImagiNE Nebraska Act.
- 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 public notification.
- AM854 (Halloran) When property tax valuation, as determined by a county assessor, is deemed 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.
- AM1173 (B. Hansen) Provides notice to local taxpayers when property taxes increase.
- LB139 (Briese) (Slama Priority) MONITOR – Provides general safe harbor and premises liability protections on potential COVID-19 lawsuits.
- 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 Defines native and nonnative plant species, seed germination, storage, testing, viability, and sales.
- LB290 (M. Cavanaugh) OPPOSE – Adopts the Paid Family & Medical Leave Insurance Act.
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.
- LB329 (Wayne) MONITOR – The minimum average wholesale gasoline price would be $2.44.
- AM411 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.
- 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.
- LB634 (J. Cavanaugh) OPPOSE – Provides a cause of action for unsafe disposal of treated seed. The bill is no longer in play due to the passage of Sen. Cavanaugh’s AM567 to LB507.
- LB672 (Murman) SUPPORT – Changes the sales and use tax exemption on agricultural machinery and equipment.
Failed to Advance
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.
- LB239 (Hilkemann) MONITOR – Restricts phone use to hands-free only while driving.
- LB625 (Vargas) MONITOR – Imposes a surtax on certain taxable income and uses the tax proceeds for early childhood education.