As we work through the month May, I want to give a couple of updates from the last few weeks. My priority bill, LB 644, has advanced from the first and second round of debate and will be heading to final reading soon. This bill was designed to help give the taxpayer clear and concise information in the form of a postcard about where their property taxes are coming from, who is taxing them specifically, and where a hearing will take place to voice their opinion. After being passed on final reading, it will go to the governor’s desk to be signed into law. It has been a long haul with my outstanding staff. We worked with several other senators and numerous interested parties to add amendments, making LB 644 a bill we could all agree on.
Another topic of interest throughout District 16 was a proposed state constitutional amendment debated last week called the “Consumption Tax” which was introduced by Senator Steve Erdman. This would abolish property and income taxes by replacing them with a consumption tax on the sales of new goods. Differing from the existing sales tax, the new tax proposal would not apply to used goods but would expand the tax to services and end many tax exemptions. I thought this idea to be bold and something that deserved more discussion. I voted in favor of it but, unfortunately, LR11CA did not receive the necessary votes to move forward. Hopefully, this is legislation that can be refined and brought back again next year. The people of Nebraska deserve to hear all options and ideas that come to the table regarding the avenues we consider towards improving our tax structure and making it fair for everyone. This was one of those ideas.
On April 26, Gov. Pete Ricketts signed Nebraska’s two-year state budget into law. The governor was optimistic about the $9.7 billion budget package that the legislature put together and stated that it “controls state spending and significantly increases direct property tax relief for the people of Nebraska.” I supported the state budget as well, seeing that it factored in over $1 billion of direct property tax relief. We have all heard loud and clear from our constituents.
As we enter the final weeks of the 2021 Legislative Session, I will be busy monitoring the rest of the bills I introduced and looking to get them to the governor’s desk for approval. Feel free to stop by my office here in Lincoln as we would love to show you around the capitol and hear any thoughts or concerns you may have. You are also welcome to contact our office anytime at (402)-471-2728 to speak with my Administrative Assistant, Ellie Stangl, or my Legislative Aide, Christopher Prosch. You can email me at email@example.com and to follow along with the session, please visit nebraskalegislature.gov or watch the live stream when available at netnebraska.org.
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