Drop Anchor

As floor debate clipped along Friday morning, Speaker Scheer announced that Senator John Stinner, Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, would review the budget, because that’s what John does. John had good news: his committee is working really hard. John had bad news: revenues from state sales and income taxes are IN THE TANK!

Apparently, the gurus who forecast state revenues, missed the mark again. The Governor and John rely on accurate revenue projections on which to build the state’s biennial budget. Buoyed by the forecast of November 2017, Governor Ricketts’ budgeted growth in revenues. He also included spending initiatives like funding to reduce prison overcrowding, and an additional $102 million (over two years) in new property tax relief. You can hang those ideas over the yardarm.

Of the senator’s 737 bills on the Paddlewheel of Hopes and Dreams, many require additional state funding. Senators Stinner and Scheer raised the U (Uniform) Flag signifying “you are heading into danger” and “strongly recommended” that senators wisely choose their one each priority bill. Legislation containing new spending will be waterboarded in committee hearings and deep-sixed to rest with Davy Jones. The pirate. Not the Monkee.

NH&LA Watchlist

LB57 Short-term rentals had a public hearing before the Urban Affairs Committee on January 29. The Committee advanced the bill to General File where it was debated on January 30, and advanced to Select File.

The bill uses permissive (may vs. shall) language regarding regulation by municipalities and tax collection by the Department of Revenue. In discussions with the Department of Revenue, they fully intend to collect sales and use taxes on short-term rentals. The League of Nebraska Municipalities and the City of Omaha testified in support of the bill.

The hearing on LB203 that amends the Music Licensing Act to add the owner of a multi-family dwelling to the definition of “proprietor” is Monday at 1:30pm.

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