Step Right Up

Big News!! The “Super Seven” (not to be confused with the previous Gang of Ten) may have arrived at a compromise to reduce property taxes. The Legislature’s Bill Drafters are writing an amendment to Priority Bill, LB 930 so we can actually read the bill…before they pass it. Language may be available Monday. See the rumored details below under General File.

Friday morning, senators were pushing their green buttons like carnies punching Tilt-A-Whirl tickets at the State Fair. They sent thirty-five bills to the Governor’s desk for signature, including the all important adjusted budget.

Senator Ernie Chambers spent much of last week on the microphone. The rhetoric has not changed in more than forty years. Like a carnival barker, he attacked the Governor, condemned Republicans, and disparaged the vast majority of people in the state. Chambers did pass a bill. Likely his last. The 83-year-old term-limited (again) senator passed anti-bias and implicit bias police training legislation. Fitting.

A public hearing was held Friday afternoon for the recently introduced Municipal Police Oversight Act (LB 1222), a nod to BLM. The bill requires that any city employing full-time police officers shall create a seven-member citizen oversight board empowered to investigate all cases of alleged police misconduct in addition to other powers and authority. Cities and police departments are strongly opposed. They are a strong lobby.

Seven more legislative days (Mo-Th this week / Tu-Th next week) until this midway closes for the season. Priority bills on Final Reading and Select File will litter the agenda. Most of the public will not notice if bills pass or fail, but pay attention to the business incentive package in LB 720 and the new LB 930 property tax relief bill. It’s doubtful that one bill will advance without the other.

Thursday, August 6, is the final day for senators to advance bills to the Governor, without fear of the dreaded Pocket Veto. By rule, the Governor is allowed up to five days (excluding Sunday) to approve or veto a bill. With a four-day recess this Friday through Monday, August 12 and 13 are the last days in which the Legislature can attempt veto overrides. After that…check his pockets.

Tracking

GENERAL FILE

LB187 SUPPORT (Hilkeman)

  • Adds two new definitions to an eligible sports arena facility to the Sports Arena Facility Financing Assistance Act.
  • Any sports complex which includes concession areas, parking facilities and onsite administrative offices connected with operating the sports complex.
  • A multipurpose field meaning a rectangular field of grass or synthetic turf which is primarily used for competitive field sports, that may include soccer, football, flag football, lacrosse or rugby.
  • The bill repeals the occupancy requirement to receive a turn back of sales tax and replaces occupancy with project completion date.

LB930 (Briese) PRIORITY BILL – THE LATEST PROPERTY TAX RELIEF ATTEMPT

  • Retains the state’s annual $275 contribution to the Property Tax Credit Fund and sets this amount as the fund minimum. Distribution to property taxpayers is based on the value of their property.
  • Year 1: Creates another $125 million Property Tax Credit Fund. Distribution to taxpayers would be based on property taxes paid.
  • Year 2: Adds new tax revenue that exceeds 3.5% growth in the state budget (up to $125 million) to the new PTCF.
  • Year 3: Any unappropriated revenue from the prior year that exceeds 3.5% growth (up to $125 million), carries over to the next year.
  • The goal is to grow the Property Tax Credit Fund to $650 million.
  • Potential revenue from the racetrack gambling ballot initiative would add to the fund.

STILL IN COMMITTEE

LB1084 (Kolterman) MONITOR – AMENDED INTO LB720 THE CHAMBER’S ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BILL

  • The Nebraska Transformational Project Act would provide $300 million in state funding to the University of Nebraska Medical Center for their NExT Project.
  • NExT Project has two components: a state of the art academic medical center facility and a federal all-hazard disaster response military and civilian partnership.
  • UNMC must show an economic impact to Nebraska of at least $2.7 billion during the planning and construction period and at least $4.9 billion over ten years.

FAILED TO ADVANCE

LB974 MONITOR (Linehan) REVENUE COMMITTEE PRIORITY BILL

  • This is a complex property tax and school funding bill. As amended by AM2433, the bill would reduce property taxes as a major source of funding for K-12 education.
  • Real property would be valued at 95% of actual value for tax year 2020.
  • In tax year 2021, real property would be valued at 91%of actual value.
  • In tax year 2022, and thereafter, real property would be valued at 86% of actual value

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