Property Tax Relief Bill Advances

Date: February 14, 2020

NFIB testifies in support of two workers’ compensation measures

State Director Bob Hallstrom reports from Lincoln on the small-business agenda for the legislative week ending February 14

Lawmakers continued to process bills during morning legislative sessions and conduct public hearings each afternoon. The legislative agenda for the balance of the session will be determined within the next week as individual senators, committees and the Speaker of the Legislature designate their priority bills.

Each senator is able to designate one priority bill, committees are authorized to identify two priorities, and the Speaker may designate 25 priority bills. To date, eleven senators have designated their individual priority bills for the session and nine committee bills have been prioritized.

Property Tax Relief Bill Moves to the Floor

Legislative Bill 974 – Property Tax Relief Bill

The Revenue Committee, on a 6-2 vote, has advanced LB 974 to General File, with committee amendments, and designated the bill as a committee priority. LB 974 would use excess state tax revenue to increase state aid to public K–12 schools, and gradually lower the tax valuation of property for paying school taxes.

Under the Committee amendment, residential and commercial property tax valuations for school district taxing purposes would be reduced from 100 percent of actual value to 95 percent in 2020; to 91 percent in 2021; and to 87 percent in 2022 and thereafter. For agricultural property, property tax valuations for school district taxing purposes would be reduced from 75 percent of actual value to 65 percent in 2020; to 60 percent in 2021; and to 55 percent in 2022 and thereafter.

NFIB Testifies on Workers’ Compensation Measures

NFIB State Director Bob Hallstrom appeared before the Business and Labor Committee during the past week in support of the following workers’ compensation bills.

Legislative Bill 1101 – Workers’ Compensation – Multiple Member Injuries

Sen. Steve Halloran (Hastings) has introduced LB 1101, which would clarify existing law regarding the ability of an employee to receive benefits for loss or loss of use of more than one hand, arm, foot, leg, eye, or ear, or any combination thereof, based upon the employee’s loss of earning capacity, if the loss or loss of use results in at least a 30 percent loss of earning capacity (loss or loss of use of multiple parts of the same hand, arm, foot, or leg would not be eligible for a determination of benefits based upon the employee’s loss of earning capacity and loss of use means permanent loss of function).

Hallstrom alerted the committee to a series of court decisions that have ignored the legislative intent of the law relating to loss of earning capacity benefits in cases involving multiple member injuries.

Legislative Bill 1103 – Workers’ Compensation – Lump-Sum Settlement Approval or Release

Sen. Matt Hansen (Lincoln) is the sponsor of LB 1103, which would clarify that a release of a lump-sum settlement for indemnity benefits only, that is not required to be submitted for approval by the Compensation Court, need not contain allegations regarding eligibility for Medicare if the employee’s right to receive future medical, surgical, and hospital services is specifically excluded from the settlement.

NFIB assured the Committee that the legislation was narrowly drafted to allow for use of the streamlined release–waiver process in cases in which a worker is represented by counsel and only indemnity benefits are being settled.

Burial Benefit Bill Advances

Legislative Bill 448 – Workers’ Compensation – Burial Benefits

Introduced by Sen. Mike McDonnell (Omaha), LB 448 would revise the manner in which an employer’s responsibility for burial expenses is determined. As originally introduced, the burial expense would have been set at 14 times the state’s average weekly wage. Prior to advancing to Select File, a committee amendment was adopted establishing the maximum burial benefit based upon 12 times the state’s average weekly wage.

NFIB is working with Senator McDonnell to tie future increases to the Consumer Price Index, rather than increases in the state’s average weekly wage.

Wage Payment and Collection Act Bill Prioritized

Legislative Bill 1016 – Nebraska Wage Payment and Collection Act

The Business and Labor Committee has advanced LB 1016 to General File and designated the bill as a committee priority. Introduced by Sen. Matt Hansen (Lincoln), LB 1016 would prohibit retaliation and discrimination for employees who file suit or participate in a proceeding under the Nebraska Wage Payment and Collection Act.

As introduced, the bill would have:

  • expanded damages provisions under the Nebraska Wage Payment and Collection Act
  • allowed citations issued under the Act to be admissible in court and available to the public upon request
  • allowed for names of businesses with more than one citation to be posted on the Department of Labor website.

Prior to advancing the bill, the committee adopted an amendment, supported by NFIB, that would retain the current measure of damages (unpaid wages only) in proceedings under the Wage Payment and Collection Act; only allow citations “directly related” to the action to be admissible in court and limit the publication of names of businesses on the Department of Labor website to those who have “unpaid” citations. Adoption of the committee amendment will remove NFIB’s opposition to the bill.

Committee Activity

During the past week, NFIB presented testimony to the Revenue Committee on each of the following measures.

Legislative Bill 892 – Taxation – Income Tax

Sen. Mike Hilgers (Lincoln), has introduced LB 892, which would increase individual income tax brackets so that the top rate of 6.84% would not apply until income for a single individual reaches $50,000 (married file jointly $100,000 – was $29,000 and $58,000) for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2021, with the tax brackets to be adjusted for inflation each year thereafter. (NFIB Position – Support)

Legislative Bill 989 – Taxation Sales and Use Tax

Sen. Justin Wayne (Omaha) introduced LB 989 which would impose sales and use taxes on digital advertisements (an advertising message delivered over the Internet that markets or promotes a particular good, service, or political candidate or message). NFIB joined a coalition of businesses in submitting testimony in opposition to LB 989. (NFIB Position – Oppose)

Small Business Day at the Capitol

NFIB/Nebraska will co-sponsor a Small Business Day at the Capitol on March 10, in Lincoln.

NFIB’s co-sponsors are the:

  • Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce
  • Lincoln Chamber of Commerce
  • Lincoln Independent Business Association
  • Nebraskans For Workers’ Compensation Equity and Fairness.

Small Business Day gives NFIB members an opportunity to network with other small business owners. Gov. Pete Ricketts is expected to speak, and there will be a legislative briefing by state senators.

Details on the time and location of Small Business Day at the Capitol will be released soon. Check for the latest information.

Previous Reports and News Releases

Photo courtesy of Unicameral Update, The Nebraska Legislature’s official news source since 1977.



Subscribe For Free News And Tips

Enter your email to get FREE small business insights. Learn more

Get to know NFIB

NFIB is a member-driven organization advocating on behalf of small and independent businesses nationwide.

Learn More

Or call us today

© 2001 - 2024 National Federation of Independent Business. All Rights Reserved. Terms and Conditions | Privacy