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This summer, the Capitol has begun construction on the building to improve the HVAC system. Our office has been moved to room 2011 on the Second Floor. If you are ever in Lincoln we would love to have you visit our new office! Also, don’t forget to mark your calendars for the 2018 Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island from August 24th to September 3rd. More information can be found at https://www.statefair.org/.
I was lucky to attend the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) Annual Meeting in New Orleans August 8th – 10th. ALEC Is America’s largest nonpartisan, voluntary membership organization of state legislators dedicated to the principals of limited government, free markets, and federalism. ALEC’s annual meeting serves as a forum for legislators and other stakeholders to exchange ideas and develop real, state-based solutions to encourage growth, preserve economic security, and protect hardworking taxpayers. As a member of ALEC, and as my role of Chair of the Business and Labor Committee, I joined the Commerce, Insurance, and Economic Development Task Force. In our task force and subcommittee meetings we exchanged policies and ideas on labor and business regulation, transportation and infrastructure, and financial services, among many other economic development topics. We also were able to attend workshops on topics such as energy and natural resources, the opioid crisis, and agriculture. I am excited to bring back what I learned from fellow state legislators and help apply it to the unique needs of Nebraska.
On August 14th I had the opportunity to visit the Haskell Agricultural Lab in Concord for the Crop and Climate Family Field Day. The event featured livestock and crop discussions on fostering climate resilience in beef production, livestock mortality disposal options, heat stress in livestock, as well as climate change on insects in northeast Nebraska, the Haskell Agricultural Lab long-term tillage experiment of over 30 years, and the effect of new weeds in Nebraska. The Haskell Lab serves the Northeast District of the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension program of the University of Nebraska system with the mission of providing research-based education programs for the people of northeast Nebraska. I am grateful for valuable service the Haskell Lab provides to the citizens in northeast Nebraska, to learn more visit https://extension.unl.edu/statewide/nerec/nerechistory/.
The Appropriations Committee and the Revenue Committee held a joint hearing on August 15th to hear the presentation of the 2017 Nebraska Tax Incentives Annual Report from the Nebraska Department of Revenue. Each year the Department of Revenue reports on the Nebraska Advantage Act; the Nebraska Advantage Rural Development Act; the Nebraska Advantage Microenterprise Tax Credit Act; the Nebraska Advantage Research and Development Act; the Employment and Investment Growth Act; the Invest Nebraska Act; and the Quality Jobs Act. The report details the specific benefits that incentive participants have and will continue to receive from their respective programs. To date, a total of $905 million in tax credits and $187 million in sales tax refunds have been given, with another $37 million in sales tax refunds pending approval. According to the Department of Revenue’s calculations of the net benefit of incentives to Nebraska tax revenue, the total tax revenue gained by the economic activity created statewide by the incentives programs will be 25 percent less, or a net annual loss to taxpayers of $32 million, than the amount of state taxes not paid by participating companies. The Department of Revenue projects that annual loss to grow to $87 million by 2022 and peak at $93 million by 2025. The current programs, especially the Nebraska Advantage Act, are the subject of multiple studies that are being conducted this summer to determine the best options to make tax incentives beneficial to all Nebraskans. To read more about the report, visit http://www.revenue.nebraska.gov/incentiv/annrep/17an_rep/17_annrp.html.
I want to encourage my constituents to reach out to me, I look forward to hearing from you!