Report from NFIB State Director Bob Hallstrom
The Legislature has completed two-thirds of the 2014 legislative session. Priority bill designations have been completed by individual senators, committees and the speaker of the Legislature, essentially setting the agenda for the balance of the session. Committee hearings have been completed and full-day sessions of floor debate commenced on March 4.
Budget Package Unveiled
The Appropriations Committee has given final approval to adjustments to the $7.9 billion 2013-15 Nebraska state budget it will recommend to the Legislature for debate and approval. The budget package provides funding for property tax relief ($25 million) and other major issues of water infrastructure, prison housing needs, early childhood education and Capitol improvements.
The budget proposal leaves $91 million available for additional bills yet to be debated and passed. These funds may be used for additional spending measures or for tax relief. Of the $91 million available, approximately $33 million could go for a bill (Legislative Bill 725) that would adjust state aid to schools.
The Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board voted to increase tax revenue projections by $99 million for the two-year budget period that ends June 30, 2015. Of the projected increase in revenues, $36 million will be added to the state's cash reserve, boosting the total to an estimated $761 million. The balance of $63 million will be added to the revenue figure used in revising the state budget for 2014-15, which should provide the Legislature with additional flexibility in addressing priorities, including tax relief.
Postage Charge Sales Tax
The Legislature has given first round approval to Legislative Bill 867, a measure designated as a priority bill by Sen. Galen Hadley (Kearney). During General File debate, an amendment was adopted incorporating the provisions of LB 829, which is supported by NFIB. The measure would exempt separately stated postage charges from sales and use taxes. Under current law, sales tax is charged for U.S. postage affixed to mailings that are sent on behalf of the sender by a printer, preparer, or other third party-who then separately bills the sender for the postage. A business that provides for the mailing of their billing statements and other mailings by a third party is subject to payment of sales and use taxes under these circumstances, which would be eliminated under LB 867.
Previous 2014 Legislative Reports
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