Senator John Wightman
As I write this column, the first session of the One Hundred Third Legislature is nearing completion. One week from today (Thursday) we will probably be in our first day after the close of the session, unless the Speaker postpones for a day or two the final working day of the session to consider overrides of the Governor’s vetoes.
The Legislature on Tuesday considered overrides of the Governor’s line item vetoes of the mainline budget bills and overrode the vetoes on most of the items. The budget bill is brought to the full Legislature from the Appropriations Committee on which I have served during my seven years in the Legislature.
Yesterday we had final reading on a number of spending bills, and with the passage of most of them, it is likely that several of these bills will also result in vetoes, and probably overrides will be considered by the Legislature on some or all of these bills. Generally these bills are a little less likely to be overridden because they do not necessarily have the support of a majority of the members of the Appropriations Committee.
Today the Legislature voted favorably on L.R. 155, a Resolution submitted by Senator Chambers, to create a Tax Modernization Committee. This is probably one of the most important actions taken by the Legislature this session. The Tax Modernization Committee, which will be made up of 15 members, will hold hearings during the summer and fall and before mid-December prepare a report on their study of the entire tax system of the State of Nebraska as well as other governing bodies, including cities, counties and school districts. The report will include recommendations as to what changes should be made or considered as to our tax system.
Among the items to be considered will no doubt include the Governor’s bill, which he proposed in L.B. 405 and later withdrew. That bill would have eliminated the state income tax and eliminated many of the exemptions from sales taxes, which could have a great impact on farmers and manufacturers. If you have a great interest, which most of you in agriculture do, you will want to follow the meetings of the Tax Modernization Committee during the summer and fall of the forthcoming year. If you let me know about your interest, my office staff and I will try to keep you informed as to the meetings of this committee. As soon as the membership of the entire committee is finalized, which will be early next week, I will inform you as to the makeup of the committee. Senator Galen Hadley, as chair of the Revenue Committee, will be the chair of this committee.
I look forward to receiving your input and the voicing of your concerns as we address these issues and many others during the final days of this year’s legislative session. Please contact me at my Lincoln office in the State Capital, District 36, Box 94604, Lincoln, NE 68509. My phone number is (402) 471-2642. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.