Monday is the 17th day of the Legislature’s 2022 session (inching toward the one third mark). Senators have been busy with morning floor debate and afternoon/evening committee hearings. Last week alone, 15 committees took testimony on 98 bills, 13 agency budget requests, and three commission appointments. With over 600 new proposals introduced, committee might be hard pressed to meet the March 3 deadline for completing all of the hearings.
The Chamber has been weighing in on a number of these—income tax rate reductions (Nebraska’s top rate remains high, particularly compared with neighboring states and comparison metros); various tax credits that promote economic development; industrial site development; transportation funding; airport regulation; and vaccine mandates/anti-mandates.
Last week, the Appropriations Committee took up the Governor’s mid-biennium budget adjustments. That included LB 1014, his proposals for dispersing federal ARPA (American Recovery Plan Act) funds. LB 1014 includes programming the Chamber supports, e.g. the Site and Building Fund and the North 24th Street project. We do, though, have ARPA proposals separate from the Governor’s. Developed in conjunction with the Lincoln and State Chambers, these include Senator Flood’s LB 1167, which would provide $30 million for DED’s Intern Nebraska program and $20 million for the Department of Labor’s workforce expansion programs; Senator Arch’s LB 1033, $160 million for site and building development; and Senator Kolterman’s LB 699, $100 million for innovation and technology development grants. Committee hearings for these bills will be scheduled soon.
Senators introduced myriad other ARPA funding proposals, ranging from $150,000 for an updated climate change report to a half billion dollars in gift cards for all. Considering that the hearing on LB 1014 ran for eight hours, Appropriations has a busy few weeks awaiting.
This week, Public Policy will be covering hearings on five workers’ compensation bills, transportation infrastructure funding, ImagiNE amendments, the North Omaha Recovery Act (an ARPA proposal), and a long day in Revenue that includes another hearing on the EPIC (eliminate property, income, and corporate taxes) proposal, and two constitutional amendments to treat commercial property separate from residential for property tax purposes.
The week wraps with a needed Friday off.