The Legislature has completed 70 of the planned 90 days of the 2021 session. Senators have been busy, so far approving 92 measures. That includes the new two-year state budget, so they could theoretically go home for the year at any time. Note that the budget was successfully amended to include Chamber priorities such as additional funding for the ImagiNE Nebraska Act, the Customized Job Training Fund, and the Business Innovation Act.

A full agenda remains, however, and there will likely be a special session to handle redistricting following the federal census report.

Measures that have been moved into the queue for final reading include LB 156, which authorizes the establishment of inland port authorities for industrial site development, LB 387, which will fully exempt military retirement pay from taxation, an important step in strengthening Nebraska’s reputation as a military friendly state, and LB 544, the Urban Redevelopment Act.

This has been tax week part one. It continues into next week.

Long debates on property tax restrictions have come up short on votes, but proposals that have advanced from first round debate include:

  • Making critical changes to the ImagiNE Nebraska Act;
  • Reducing the top corporate income tax rate to 6.84 percent (matching the top individual rate);
  • Allowing the use of Nebraska Education Savings Plan Trust (NEST) funds to be used for apprenticeship program costs;
  • Exempting enzymes and yeast—essential inputs for ethanol production—from sales taxes; and
  • Clarifying the definition of agricultural machinery for sales tax exemption purposes.

We also have some other bills on the agenda. That includes LB 682, which would extend the New Markets Job Growth Investment Act, a program that encourages investment in areas such as North Omaha.

At some point, there will be debate on issues such as authorizing $450 million in state highway bonds, long a Chamber priority.

Next Wednesday, there will be debate on LR 11CA. This is a proposed constitutional amendment to replace personal and corporate income taxes, sales taxes, and property taxes with a “consumption tax.” Debate is expected to be spirited.

The last weeks of the session will mean late nights. 7:00. 8:00, 10:00 p.m., with short dinner breaks. There might be unexpected amendments. Tempers might again be strained, but all will be good the next morning.

Jennifer Creager
Senior Director, Public Policy
808 Conagra Dr., Ste. 400, Omaha, NE 68102
Lincoln Office: 402-474-4960

For more information, visit our Public Policy page or contact Jennifer Creager or Tim Stuart at 402.474.4960.

You can read the Legislature’s Update to learn more about the happenings in Lincoln.