NFIB supporting measure aimed at habitual abusers of unemployment insurance program
In his latest update from Lincoln for the legislative week ending January 20, NFIB/Nebraska State Director Bob Hallstrom reports that all bills helpful and harmful to small business have been revealed
The time for new bill introductions has expired with a total of 667 bills and five proposed constitutional amendments to be addressed by the Legislature this session.
Committee hearings have commenced and the initial floor debate of the session was conducted on January 19, with the initial bills advancing from committee ready for consideration.
NFIB Committee Activity
Legislative Bill 37 – Uniform Wage Garnishment Act: NFIB State Director Bob Hallstrom presented testimony in support of LB 37 before the Judiciary Committee on January 20. Introduced by Sen. Burke Harr (Omaha), LB 37 would streamline the wage-garnishment process for employers, employees, and creditors by making the wage-garnishment process more efficient.
The measure would allow an employer to respond directly to the creditor at the commencement of garnishment proceedings, rather than having to deal with the court, and would allow for direct submission of garnished amounts to the creditor. The bill would also permit a garnishment to remain in effect until the entire amount owed on the judgment is paid and allow multiple garnishees to share equally the amount of wages garnished.
Legislative Bill 52 – Modern Tax Act: NFIB also submitted testimony in opposition to LB 52, which was heard before the Revenue Committee on January 18. Introduced by Sen. Paul Schumacher (Columbus), LB52 would impose a tax of 5.5 percent on the amount of interest paid by a qualified debtor (resident of Nebraska, trust created under Nebraska law, or business entity organized under Nebraska law or which has its principal office located in Nebraska) on any eligible loan (loan secured by real estate located in Nebraska, loan secured by Uniform Commercial Code filing, loan secured by a security or commercial paper held in or delivered to a creditor in Nebraska, loan secured by a vehicle titled in Nebraska or loan over which Nebraska courts have jurisdiction and venue in any action for default in payment).
The bill would require the lender to collect the tax from the qualified debtor at the time any regularly scheduled payment on the eligible loan is due and to remit the taxes collected to the tax commissioner monthly. Loans to governmental entities, publicly traded bonds and loans the proceeds of which are used by a licensed financial institution or insurance company to make loans subject to the tax, would be exempt.
The Business and Labor Committee has scheduled hearings on January 23 on the following bills of interest to NFIB:
Legislative Bill 181 – Workers Compensation – Independent Medical Examinations: Introduced by Sen. Dan Quick (Grand Island), LB 181 would require an employer to provide reimbursement to an employee for the reasonable fee associated with a subsequent report and examination by a physician selected by the employee, along with reasonably necessary transportation expenses incurred for the examination, in any case in which a physician selected by the employer or its workers’ compensation insurer renders medical findings on the medical condition of the employee, if the employee disputes the medical findings of the physician selected by the employer or its workers’ compensation carrier. (NFIB Position – Oppose)
Legislative Bill 203 – Unemployment Insurance: Introduced by Sen. John Kuehn (Heartwell), LB 203 would revise the requirements for individuals receiving unemployment benefits who voluntarily leave a job without good cause by providing that such an individual would not be eligible for unemployment benefits until they have earned four times their weekly benefit amount in insured work and has separated from the most recent subsequent employment under non-disqualifying conditions. The bill would address habitual abusers of the unemployment insurance program and is estimated to save employers between $2.75 million and $7.5 million annually. NFIB Nebraska will present testimony in support of this measure. (NFIB Position – Support)
Legislative Bill 44 – Remote Seller Sales Tax Collection Act: Introduced by Sen. Dan Watermeier (Syracuse), LB 44 would require a remote seller (any person who sells tangible personal property, products delivered electronically, or services for delivery into Nebraska and who does not have a physical presence in this state) to remit sales taxes due on sales as if the remote seller had a physical presence in Nebraska, if the remote seller’s gross revenue on sales in Nebraska exceeds $100,000 or involves 200 or more separate sales transactions.
Legislative Bill 249 – Property Tax Exemptions: Senator Harr has also introduced LB 249, which would exempt personal property that is equipment usable for construction, agriculture, or manufacturing from the property tax exemption.
Legislative Bill 305 – Paid Family Medical Leave Insurance Act: Introduced by Sen. Sue Crawford (Bellevue), LB 305 would establish a statewide paid family medical leave insurance program similar to Nebraska’s unemployment insurance system and managed by the state Department of Labor. (NFIB Position – Oppose)
Legislative Bill 312 – Sales Tax on Services – Property Tax Relief: Sen. Tom Briese (Albion) is the sponsor of LB 312, which would subject the following items to a sales tax on services:
- cleaning of tangible personal property
- storage and moving services
- investment advice
- personal care services, including hair care, massages, nail services, spa services, and tattoo services
- maintenance, painting, repair, and interior decoration services for single-family housing limousine, taxi, and other transportation services
- travel agents and tour operators
- lawncare, gardening and landscaping services
- parking lot services
- swimming pool cleaning and maintenance services
- dating and escort services
- instruction in music, dance, golf, and other recreational activities
- custom meat slaughtering services
- legal services, excluding legal services performed in the furtherance of a for-profit business enterprise
- accounting services, excluding accounting services performed in the furtherance of a for-profit enterprise
- real estate services relating to the sale of single-family housing
- architectural services for single-family housing
- tele-floral delivery services
- and labor of a contractor for any major additional, remodeling, restoration, repair or renovation of owner-occupied residential housing.
The measure would also impose a sales tax on soda, candy, and bottled water. Any net increase in tax revenue resulting from the increased sales tax on services will be credited to the excess revenue property tax credit fund to provide a property tax credit to owners of real property
Legislative Bill 313 – Sales Tax Increase/Property Tax Relief: Senator Briese has introduced another tax bill that would increase the state sales and use tax rate to 6.5 percent. and credit any net increase in tax revenue resulting from the legislation to the excess Revenue Property Tax Credit Fund to provide a property tax credit to owners of real property.
Legislative Bill 337 – Income Taxation: Introduced by Sen. Jim Smith (Papillion), the legislation would provide for reductions in the top individual income tax rate bracket beginning in 2021 and continuing through 2027 which would reduce the rate from 6.84 percent to 5.99 percent. The measure would condition rate reductions upon the expected rate of growth in net General Fund receipts as determined by the Tax Rate Review Committee with reductions to be deferred or voided if the rate of growth does not exceed 3.5 percent, with such deferral to remain in place until the expected rate of growth exceeds 4.2 percent for the upcoming fiscal year.
Legislative Bill 338 – Agricultural Valuation Fairness Act: Introduced by Sen. Lydia Brasch (Bancroft), LB 338 would determine agricultural land and horticultural land values for tax purposes based upon its income producing capacity. The Property Tax Administrator would be required to establish capitalization rates to be applied to each class or subclass of agricultural land and horticultural land within each county, with the capitalization rates to result in an aggregate agricultural use value for the class of agricultural land and horticultural land that is between 60 percent and 75 percent of the actual value, with the aggregate agricultural use value not to increase more than 3.5 percent from the prior year.
Legislative Bill 354 – Wage Disclosure Act: Introduced by Sen. Rick Kolowski (Omaha), LB 354 would prohibit an employer (private employer with four or more employees) from:
- screening job applicants based on their current or prior wages, including any requirement that a job applicant’s current or prior wage satisfy minimum or maximum criteria
- requesting or requiring a condition of being interviewed, or as a condition of continuing to be considered for an offer employment, that a job applicant disclose his or her current or prior wages
- seeking information regarding a job applicant’s current or prior wages from the current or former employer of the job applicant, except that an employer may confirm a job applicant’s wages if the job applicant provides written authorization to do so and the confirmation is done after the employer has made an offer of employment to the job applicant.
The bill would establish a Class IV misdemeanor penalty for violations of the Wage Disclosure Act.
Legislative Bill 361 – Sales Tax Holiday: Also introduced by Senator Kolowski, LB 361 would exempt certain sales of clothing (sales price of $100 or less per item) and foot ware (sales price of $150 or less per item) from sales and use tax, if sold between 12:01am on the first Friday of August and 11:59 pm the following Saturday.
Legislative Bill 380 – Income Taxation – Individual Income Tax Rates: Introduced by Senator Harr, the legislation would reduce the top individual income tax bracket rate from 6.84 percent to 5.99 percent, effective January 1, 2019. The measure would also provide for automatic inflation-area adjustments to the amount of itemized deductions and standard deductions.
Legislative Bill 420 – Fair Chance Hiring Act/Ban the Box: Introduced by Sen. John McCollister (Omaha), LB 420 would prohibit public and private employers and employment agencies from asking an applicant to disclose, orally or in writing, information concerning the applicant’s criminal record or history, including any inquiries on any employment application, until the employer or employment agency has determined the applicant meets the minimum employment qualifications. The bill would apply to employers with 15 or more employees.
[Tile photo of Sen. Burke Harr courtesy of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature website.]
Previous Reports and Related Media
January 13 Report—Bill Introductions Less Than Normal in Nebraska Legislature
January 12 News Release–Comment on today’s State-of-the-State Address
January 6 Report—Nebraska Legislature Opens for Business