Friday was the 32nd day of the Legislature’s session—just past halfway.
Mornings bring three hours of floor debate, and afternoons have followed with continued often lengthy committee hearings. Both have included discussion on various tax relief measures, school funding changes, business regulation and deregulation, and any number of issues in between.
Tax debate includes LB 939, which would reduce the top individual and corporate income tax rates to 5.84 percent. That would represent the first reduction in the top individual rate since 1997. The rates for the lower three brackets were reduced in 2013. LB 939 did advance from first round consideration on a 40-1 vote.
The Appropriations Committee has continued taking testimony on proposals for directing the use of federal ARPA funds. That will continue through March 3. The Chamber has offered its support for bills that would fund workforce training and internships, infrastructure (with an emphasis on industrial site development), technology innovation, and redevelopment projects in north and south Omaha.
Senators, committees, and the Speaker have selected their priority bills. That provides something of a road map for the remainder of the session. With 106 proposals designated as priority, and with the number of meeting days waning, it is possible that there will not be time to debate them all.
Proposals that go to tax policy or budget appropriations are always affected by projections on state revenue. The Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board (commonly known as the Forecasting Board) generally meets two to three times per year to update predictions on revenues from the individual income tax, corporate income tax, sales tax, and miscellaneous taxes. (The latter category includes revenues from taxes on alcohol and tobacco, horseracing, financial and insurance institutions, uranium mining, and others.) The Board, which includes members of the business community from across the state, will meet Monday and effectively provide senators with guidance on how much they have to work with.
With the priority bills, budget adjustments, and federal ARPA funding on the agenda, senators are looking at some late evenings as the April adjournment begins to loom. Interesting things can happen in the second half.
As always, big thanks go out to Chamber members and staff for the top-notch committee testimony they have been providing. It makes all the difference as we work to move a business-friendly agenda.
Vice President, Public Policy
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