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This past week marked the deadline for the designation of priority bills. Every senator may designate one bill as his/her individual priority bill. Every committee can designate two priority bills and the Speaker of the Legislature has the authority to designate twenty-five bills as speaker priority bills. After this point in the session, bills without priority status do not stand a good chance of being debated unless they are noncontroversial and meet the criteria for consent calendar. Consent calendar is a tightly structured process whereby noncontroversial bills without opposition have a chance at passage.
I selected LB 308 as my personal priority bill because it will provide tax relief. LB 308 proposes to repeal Nebraska’s alternative minimum tax (AMT). Nebraska is one of only nine states with its own AMT. This tax was originally designed to capture revenue from high-income earners, but over the last decade, it has been a threat to more middle class taxpayers. The AMT adds complexity to our tax code, due to its own set of rates and rules for deductions.
LB 308 was recently advanced from the Revenue Committee, with committee amendments that contain the provisions of LB 457. LB 457 addresses the Net Operating Loss (NOL) carry forward tax policy, which allows losses to be deducted against past and future profits to measure profitability over a period that more closely corresponds to a business’s investment horizon. The amendment would extend the carry forward deduction period for ordinary operating losses, lengthening the provision from 5 years to 20 years. All but 5 states have a NOL carry forward time-frame greater than 5 years. The committee amendments to LB 308 would bring Nebraska in line with the federal corporate income tax policy and the majority of states on loss carry forwards. This will help improve Nebraska’s business tax climate, allowing small businesses, new ventures, high-tech businesses and manufacturers additional time for investment and employment growth.
Other bills that have been given priority designation include: LB 96 exempts repair or replacement parts for agricultural machinery and equipment from the sales tax; LB 362 changes the fee for state park permits to a registration fee on motor vehicles; LB 393 repeals the helmet law for motorcyclists 21 years of age and older; LB 439 increases the cigarette tax; LB 543 repeals the death penalty; LB 561 restructures the juvenile justice system; LB 517 creates the Water Sustainability Project Task Force; LB 577 expands Medicaid as allowed under the federal Affordable Care Act; and LB 613 creates a committee to conduct a comprehensive study of our tax system, including sales, income and property taxes.
In February, I held open houses in several locations in the eastern portion of Legislative District #1. On Saturday and Sunday, March 23 and 24, I plan to hold open houses in the western part of the district. At 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, I will be at the Little Brown Jug Coffee Shop in Pawnee City; at 10:00 a.m. at Frazier’s Cafe in Tecumseh; and at 1:00 p.m. at Scott’s Cafe in Sterling. On Sunday, I will be at the Palmyra Activities Center at 1:00 p.m. I encourage you to stop by on March 23 or 24 so that I can get the chance to meet you and to hear your thoughts on issues that are before the Legislature.
My contact information is District #1, P.O. Box 94604, State Capitol, Lincoln NE 68509. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org and my office telephone number is (402) 471-2733.