The Legislature reconvenes on Tuesday, Day 63 of this 90-day session. The $9.7 billion biennial budget is scheduled for Final Reading after advancing from Select File last Friday. And yes, the kids were active and noisy.
When the Appropriations Committee delivers their budget to the floor for General File debate, senators tinker with it both on General File and Select File. They are attempting to capture funding for their bills that the Committee shunned. It’s expected. But Final Reading is different. After two rounds of debate, fools who attempt to increase or redirect budget funds on Final Reading land nose to nose with former Husker national champion linebacker and chair of the Appropriations Committee, Senator John Stinner. Any questions?
A senator threw a tantrum that slowed the process for several days last week. A cookie and a hug seemed to smooth things over.
Speaking of the Huskers, Tom Osborne lost a decades-long fight against the expansion of gambling. The enacting bill, LB561, is on Tuesday’s Select File agenda. The bill creates a State Racing and Gaming Commission as approved by voters at the November 2020 electrocution. We are talking about sports betting, casino gambling, electronic keno, and wagering on horses, and lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my.
The Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board says state tax collections are killing it with higher than expected receipts from sales, use, individual, and corporate income taxes. Their forecast for March was $306 million, and net tax collections were $363 million. Tax collections so far in this fiscal year (which ends June 30) are $4.133 billion compared to the Board’s prediction of $3.574 billion. And Washington is preparing to send us yet another stimulus check.
- LB59 (Stinner) SUPPORT – Amends the Nebraska Tourism Commission’s powers to allow the Commission to engage directly with retailers to sell tourism promotional products. It further provides that retailers who pay in full for merchandise have no further reporting requirements to the Commission. The bill also harmonizes a section of the statute governing the handling of sales revenue received by the Commission and in a section of statute describing the Commission’s powers.
- LB258 (Vargas) (M. Hansen Priority) MONITOR – Requires employers with four or more employees to provide access to paid sick and safe leave.
- LB432 (Revenue Committee Priority Bill) – MONITOR – Income tax shell bill.
- AM774 Amends LB680 into LB432:
- LB680 (Linehan) Beginning 1/1/2022, the income tax rate would be reduced to 5.58% on the first $100,000 of taxable income and 6.84% on all taxable income above $100,000.
- LR11CA (Erdman Priority Resolution) MONITOR – A resolution for a constitutional amendment and consumption tax. Changes the way taxes are collected, replaces the income tax, the sales tax, the property tax, and the inheritance tax with a consumption tax, directs the Legislature to enact a consumption tax.
Held In Committee
- LB52 (Lathrop) MONITOR – Provides immunity from injury or death resulting from COVID-19 exposure.
- LB79 (Briese) MONITOR – Change the minimum amount of relief provided under the Property Tax Credit Act.
- LB122 (Hunt) OPPOSE – Eliminates the tipped minimum wage of $2.13 plus tips. Tipped workers would be paid the state minimum wage of $9.00 an hour.
- LB133 (Erdman) MONITOR – Adopts a consumption tax.
- LB139 (Briese) (Slama Priority) SUPPORT – Adopts the COVID-19 Liability Protection Act.
- LB290 (M.Cavanaugh) OPPOSE – Adopts the Paid Family & Medical Leave Insurance Act.
- LB422 (Briese) MONITOR – Reduces sales tax rate from 5.5% to 5% and eliminates some sales tax exemptions.