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.

Bill Tracker

General File

  • 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 The following bills on our tracking sheet are amended into LB432:
  • LB680 (Linehan) Beginning 2022, the corporate income tax rate for taxable income in excess of $100,000 will be reduced from 7.81% to 6.84% The new rate match the top individual income tax rate.
  • 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.