More Money, More Spending
The Nebraska Economic Forecasting Board met again to adjust their revenue predictions for this fiscal year (ending June 30) and FY2021-22 and FY2022-23. Holy Hanna! They increased projected receipts for this fiscal year by another $90 million. Evidently, both corporate and individual income tax receipts are on a roll.
The Legislature is smack dab in the middle of resolving where to spend the previous $211 million surplus, so this announcement is felicitous (looked that one up in dictionary.com). Maybe a few million will find its way to the Legislature’s Rainy Day Fund but look for most of the newfound money to be spent on programs that save something, someone, or hopefully provide more property tax relief.
The kids are back Tuesday for Day 71, and two spending bills for the next biennial budget are on the agenda. LB454 (Friesen) would cut $88 million in property taxes for K-12 education by shifting an equal amount of state sales and income tax revenue to the education coffers. LB566 (McDonnell) creates a $19 million construction fund for “arts, culture, or the humanities, including any organization formed to develop and promote the work of artists and the humanities in various visual and performing forms, such as film, sculpture, dance, painting, horticulture, multimedia, poetry, photography, performing arts, zoology, or botany. Tough call.
Toddlers have not been ignored in this session. LB152, introduced by Sen. Julie Slama of Peru, adopts the federal standard for consumer fireworks. Upon the Governor’s signature, our fireworks stands can sell the same explosives we buy for our kids in Missouri and South Dakota. The July 4 holiday will be even more special!
- LB432 (Revenue Committee Priority Bill) – MONITOR – Income tax shell bill.
- AM774 Would amend the following bills into the bill:
- LB680 (Linehan) Beginning 2022, the corporate income tax rate for taxable income above $100,000 would reduce from 7.81% to 6.84%. The new rate matches the top individual income tax rate.
- LB564 (McDonnell) Adds apprenticeship programs to the definition of qualified higher education expense in the Nebraska Educational Savings Plan Trust (NEST).
- General FileLB59 (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 a section of statute describing the Commission’s powers.
- LB258 (Vargas) (M. Hansen Priority) OPPOSE – Requires employers with four or more employees to provide access to paid sick and safe leave.
- LB290 (M.Cavanaugh) OPPOSE – Adopts the Paid Family & Medical Leave Insurance Act to create a paid family and medical leave insurance program to provide partial wage replacement for eligible workers to care for themselves or family members.
- 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.
- LB422 (Briese) MONITOR – Reduces sales tax rate from 5.5% to 5% and eliminates some sales tax exemptions.