A work in progress

Wednesday, Governor Ricketts appeared before the Legislature’s Revenue Committee to unveil his Nebraska Property Tax Cuts and Opportunities Act (LB947). Give the Gov credit, the bill touches all the bases:

  • Lowers income tax brackets and rates
  • Lowers the corporate tax rate
  • Lowers property taxes

As you can imagine, this bill has more moving parts than a chorus line of six-year-old tap dancers.  Further explanation is necessary, but we don’t have that kind of time. Let’s just say that after months of negotiating and renegotiating, LB947 is “a work in progress.”

Indeed, the Governor said that multiple times. So did the bill introducer, Sen. Smith.  So did agricultural associations. So did the business community. And that means?  No one is fully on board, yet. More tax relief bills are in play, so hang tight.

If you should tilt at windmills, Thursday’s 3-hour hearing on LB1054 was right up your wind tunnel. Senator Tom Brewer, lives in the sandhills and many constituents don’t want windmills and transmission lines cluttering the landscape.  Wind developers know that his district is windy and wide open. Perfect for wind farms. This is a classic tug-of-war between the NIMBY people (Not In My Back Yard) and the CIMBY people (Capitalist Intentions for Money By Yearning).  Yeah, CIMBY is made-up, but you get the point.

Crowd favorite legislative hearings next week:  LB1133 – Industrial Hemp Act; LB1009 – increases highway speed limits; LB726 – insurance coverage for in vitro fertilization; LB1066 – voter photo ID and LB293CA – medical cannabis.

What’s up?

  • LB756  Placed on General File.  Prohibits municipalities from adopting or enforcing ordinances or other regulations that expressly or effectively prohibit the short-term rental of residential properties. The bill also restricts the ability of municipalities to regulate residential properties used as short-term rentals.

Municipalities may adopt or enforce an ordinance or other regulation that imposes a sales tax or an occupation tax on short-term rentals if the tax is otherwise permitted by applicable law.  An online hosting platform may enter into an agreement with the Tax Commissioner to permit the online hosting platform to collect and remit applicable sales taxes on behalf of the seller or hotel operator otherwise required to collect such taxes for transactions consummated between the seller or hotel operator and the purchaser or occupant through the online hosting platform.

  • LB802 Hearing was last Thursday.  Requires advertising revenue collected by vendors under contract with the Nebraska Tourism Commission to submitted to the Commission and deposit in a newly created fund: the Nebraska Tourism Commission Promotional Cash Fund. In addition, the Commission can access these funds to carry out the agency’s purpose under the Nebraska Visitors Development Act.
  • LB1067 Hearing is Tuesday. The bill expands Nebraska’s current Business Improvement District Act to enable municipalities to promote tourism and construct or renovate tourist attractions using a special tourism surcharge on tourism-related products or services. The legislation requires notice to businesses that would be affected by such surcharge. If more than 50% of such businesses protest the proposed surcharge, it would not be adopted. The bill would not permit use of funds generated by the surcharge to be used for other purposes such as a municipalitie’s general fund operations. The Tourism Commission says they need.
  • LB1084 Hearing is Thursday.  Eliminates sales tax exemption for many items including: storage and moving services, cleaning of clothing, landscape services, pet services, taxi, limousine and parking lot services.