Whose ox gets gored?

The state budget faces a $175M – $200M shortfall in the second half of the biennial budget (7/1/18 – 6/30/19).  What’s worse, annual tax revenues are projected to remain in the dumper as Ag producers took a beating again this year.

This Governor, and a majority of senators are good old fashioned (not the cocktail) fiscal conservatives.  While they may be accused of smoke and mirrors budgeting, be assured, taxes will not increase.

This is the point at which the oxen are summoned for budget cuts.  Each state department established their two-year budget in 2017.  The Governor and the Legislature gave them an amen, with the understanding that less revenue in the out biennium means less spending cashola.

LB 945, introduced on behalf of the Governor, outlines how he intends to humanely sever funds from the herd.  Yes, there will be even more cattle calls and cuts.

Tax reform is the bull ox in the room.  Will Nebraskans finally see “meaningful” tax reductions on property (LB 829), on income (LB 961 & LB 962), on both, or neither? The Governor’s preference (LB 947) is to provide a little relief for both property and income taxpayers.  Hey, close the gate. The oxen are nervous.

What’s up?

The Urban Affairs Committee has scheduled a hearing on Monday at 1:30pm for LB756.  This is a short-term rental bill that restricts cities from enacting ordinances that prohibit the use of property as a short-term rental.

Collection of sales and lodging taxes are not included in the bill, but the introducer, Sen. Morfeld, is working with us, and agreed to offer an amendment to his bill that establishes framework for the State Treasurer to collect applicable taxes.

The Governor’s appropriations bill, LB 945, would cut $1 million from the State Visitors Promotion Cash Fund.