One hectic week in the Legislature gives way to another.  This started off Tuesday with the Urban Affairs Committee’s consideration of LB 492, legislation aimed at expanding the metro area’s transit system.  This goes directly to the Chamber’s 2040 vision of connecting the region with a “top-rated public transit system,” and is an integral part of the Chamber’s transportation initiative.

At the same time, the Appropriations Committee looked at seven bills comprising the Governor’s two-year budget proposal.  For the rest of the week, the committee will pore over 24 individual agency funding requests.

Then there’s Revenue.  Wednesday’s agenda includes bills aimed at putting limits on annual actual property tax collection increases.  LR 8CA, a constitutional amendment, would limit increases to three percent over the previous year.  LB 506 would place statutory limits on growth of school district revenue growth to 2.5 percent or the increase in the consumer price index (whichever is higher), with allowances for student population growth.  The issue here is finding a balance between an effective revenue growth limitation and providing funding that is made necessary by factors such as population growth and area growth from annexation.  This also has to be done in a way that does not simply shift funding to state sources (i.e. income taxes).

Senators will also consider a bill (LB 303) that would increase state funding for the property tax credit from the current $224 million to a minimum of $275 million annually.

On Friday (welcome March!), the committee considers, once again, expanding the sales tax base to more goods and services and using the revenue for the property tax credit (LB 507), and expanding the sales tax base, repealing the Sub-S/LLC out-of-state sales exemption and the special capital gains exemption to increase school funding (LB 614).

Next week, the Revenue Committee has a number of bills related to economic development incentives.  First is LB 720, the ImagiNE Nebraska Act.  This is an update and modernization of the state’s primary incentive program (Nebraska Advantage).  This is a top Chamber priority and is the result of countless months of work by members and staff.

The Committee will also consider bills to put early sunset dates on Nebraska Advantage and programs such as the historic tax credit and the New Markets Job Growth credit.

As always, big thanks to Chamber members and staff who make the trek, carve out a parking spot from the ice and snow, and testify in committees on the Chamber’s priorities.  It makes all the difference.

Refer to the Public Policy page on the Greater Omaha Chamber’s website or contact Jennifer Creager or Tim Stuart at 402.474.4960 if you have questions.

Also, click here if you are interested in reading the Legislature’s Update of the happenings in Lincoln.