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After decades of increased property taxes, Nebraskans deserve true tax reform, not a tax shift. In crafting a tax package this session, senators should focus on creating long-term fiscal solutions, not “solving” one problem by creating another, says John Gage.
The Legislature has finished more than a third of the 2024 legislative session.
Four straight days of gathering public input on Gov. Jim Pillen’s plan to use higher and broader sales taxes to lower property taxes made it clear there’s more work to be done.
The Revenue Committee heard testimony Feb. 1 on more than half a dozen proposals to broaden the state sales tax base in an effort to reduce local property tax collections.
Groups ranging from accountants to farmers, veterinarians to lawyers, owners of self-storage units and amusement game distributors, lined up to oppose attempts to remove long-running tax breaks for their industries.
Former South Dakota legislator sounds the alarm and urges Nebraska legislators to reject LB1354, a tax on digital advertising.
School, county and natural resources officials among those opposing a harder cap or freeze on local spending.
The debate pits golfers and broadcasters, who support the added evening sunshine of DST, against health experts who argue that our biological clocks and sleep patterns work best on standard time.
Lawyers, accountants, business groups and hunters not so keen on Pillen proposals.
Gov. Jim Pillen's plan to use excess cash reserves to "jump-start" his property tax relief proposal got a rough reception Tuesday during a state legislative hearing.
Instead of relying on tax shifts and promises of a quick fix, local property tax relief is best solved by the disciplined actions of locally elected officials under the informed and watchful eye of the local taxpayer and property owner, says former State Senator Jim Smith of the Platte Institute.
Lawmaker says the legislation focused on duplexes and ‘accessible dwelling units’ would help affordable housing crisis.
The Revenue Committee heard testimony Jan. 25 on a proposal intended to incentivize Nebraska businesses to invest in new equipment and technology.
The Revenue Committee heard testimony Jan. 25 on a proposal intended to incentivize Nebraska businesses to invest in new equipment and technology.
Nebraskans could claim a state income tax credit for certain expenses they incur when caring for a family member under a bill heard Jan. 25 by the Revenue Committee.
Thank you to Society Chairman Kelly Martinson and State Board Chairman Melissa Ruff for testifying yesterday in support of LB854, which would allow individuals to sit for the CPA exam in Nebraska with a minimum of 120 semester hours or 180 quarter hours of qualifying college credit and a bachelor’s degree. Under current law, candidates may not sit for the exam until 120 days before reaching their 150 hours of college credit.
— Gov. Jim Pillen pitched his proposal for "transformative" property tax relief on Thursday, calling for a broader sales tax, a "hard cap" on local school spending and the elimination of tax breaks won "by the best lobbyist." "We must lower our overall tax burden, widen our tax base, and end the era of special interest tax breaks," the first-term Republican said in his "State of the State" address.
Sen. Linehan proposes 1-cent increase, but hopes it will be less; other bills would hike taxes on cigarettes, vaping products, and remove exemptions
It’s Day 9 at the Nebraska Legislature. Click here for the Weekly Legislative Report from Radcliffe Gilbertson & Brady! Please let me know if you have any concerns with the bills that are listed.
It’s Day 7 at the Nebraska Legislature. We are over the halfway point for state senators to introduce bills. Committee hearings will be Jan. 22-Feb. 29.
He voices support for broadening the sales tax base but would not say which sales tax exemptions should be eliminated.
The future of the filibuster, a tactic used to stall or kill bills, will be discussed at a public hearing scheduled for Monday on a variety of proposed legislative rules changes. Several state senators, including Speaker John Arch and State Sen. Steve Erdman of Bayard, who chairs the Legislature's Rules Committee, praised the proposals for offering a range of choices from minor tweaks to wholesale changes.
Senators returned to the State Capitol Jan. 3 to begin the second session of the 108th Nebraska Legislature.
Wednesday marks the start of the 2024 session of the Nebraska Legislature, a 60-day session that several lawmakers said they hope is less acrimonious than last year’s filibuster-fest. Here are some things to watch in the session, based on discussions with senators and lobbyists.
Gov. Jim Pillen, in his quest to reduce local property taxes, has loaded up a self-described “bold and courageous” proposal to decrease property taxes via an increase in state sales taxes.
Here is the first Legislative Update for the 108th Legislature, Second Session, from our lobbyists at Radcliffe, Gilbertson & Brady. Enjoy!
State senators ended a tumultuous 2023 session Thursday, giving a final OK to bills concerning voter identification, tax breaks for economic development and criminal justice reform. The 90-day session ended two days early and will be remembered for historic tax cuts, hard feelings aired during floor debate, and an almost session-long string of filibusters mounted in protest of a bill that banned gender-affirming procedures for minors. State Sen. Tom Briese of Albion, a key player in the legislation that delivered income tax cuts and property tax relief,summed it up best: It was a "momentous session" for what got done and for how hard it was to get those things done.
Nebraska and Iowa enacted Pass-Through Entity Tax (PTET) legislation during the 2023 legislative sessions, joining 33 other states that allow PTET.
State lawmakers largely stuck with Gov. Jim Pillen on Wednesday, approving only one override of his budget vetoes — an additional $1.2 million for the State Auditor's Office. State Auditor Mike Foley had asked for additional funding, arguing that he was losing auditors to other state agencies because they could offer $20,000 to $30,000 more a year in pay due to 22% pay raises for state employees effective July 1 — raises not granted to auditor personnel.
In a letter written to the Lincoln Journal Star, NE Chamber President Bryan Slone, the Platte Institute and the National Taxpayers Union Foundation discuss what makes Nebraska uncompetitive for remote workers – our tax code.
MoneyGeek gave each state a grade based on its tax-friendliness with "A" being the best and "F" being the worst. Wyoming was found to be the most tax-friendly state and Illinois the least, with an $11,340 difference in tax burden per year. Nebraska received a “D” and was ranked at 41st with 12.7% of income being taxed. Since 1980, 21 states have decreased their effective state-local tax rates, and Nebraska is not one of them. South Dakota, Colorado and other neighboring states have seen a 0.1-0.5% decrease in the last four decades, while Nebraska has seen a 0.7% increase, falling at #24 for most increased taxes.
Using "tax day" as a backdrop, Gov. Jim Pillen joined some key state senators and two tax groups Tuesday in touting legislative proposals that aim to reduce Nebraska's top income tax rate to 3.99% by 2027. Tuesday was the deadline to file state and federal income tax returns, and the governor and others maintained that the state needs to be more competitive when it comes to taxes. "It's really important that we have a tax policy that gets us in the game," Pillen said.
Churchill once said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” It’s surely messy and sometimes maddening. But democracy is self-correcting, so more of it truly is the solution. - George Ayoub
63 days into the 108th session, the Nebraska Legislature passed its first bill – LB376E – and forwarded it to the Governor for signature. The bill creates a brand registration for the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission, allowing the Commission to better identify alcoholic products being imported into or produced in the Cornhusker state.
While many voters might not care about how much tax corporations are asked to pay, they do care about the opportunities these employers provide in their communities, so a state’s tax policies have to be aligned with the goal of landing corporate relocations and expansions. Nebraska currently has the 18th highest corporate income tax among all states. It used to be even higher.
The newly launched Nebraska Chamber Foundation Workforce & Economic Dashboard offers insights into Nebraska's economy.
The Nebraska Revenue Committee recently heard LB1264, a bill to modernize Nebraska’s tax structure by reducing income tax rates, repealing the inheritance tax, expanding the sales tax base, and eliminating most incentives. Here's what the Tax Foundation has to say about the bill.
The Nebraska Legislature is scheduled to convene on Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022. The most effective way for legislators to understand issues facing the accounting profession is to receive input from the CPAs they represent. As experts in your field and key advisors to businesses of all sizes, your input is critical to both our state and our nation.
One of the best ways to connect with state legislators is to attend the Society’s annual State Senators’ Reception and Dinner, which will be held beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Jan. 4, 2022, in the Renaissance Room at The Cornhusker Marriott in downtown Lincoln. Although it was cancelled last year due to the COVID pandemic, this event carries a long-standing tradition of being the first official event prior to the start of the Legislative Session.
CPA Firm Ownership Bill. State Sen. John Stinner of Gering, a retired CPA, has agreed to introduce the Society’s bill that would make changes to CPA firm ownership. In a nutshell, the legislation would remove the physical “head count” ownership requirement for CPA firms while maintaining that CPAs must hold at least 51% equity ownership of a CPA firm. We are hopeful for passage of this bill during the upcoming session.
Universal Licensing. On Oct. 27, State Board Executive Director Dan Sweetwood, Society Lobbyist Walt Radcliffe, and I, along with representatives from the Nebraska Board of Engineers and Architects, met with State Sen. John McCollister of Omaha to request exclusion of our professions from LB263, the proposed universal licensing bill introduced by Sen. Tom Briese in the 2021 Legislative Session. After examining the “Amendments to LB263,” which Sen. McCollister shared with us that day, we were pleased to learn that the document did exclude “a credential issued for a certified public accountant pursuant to the Public Accountancy Act.”
Sen. McCollister was the sponsor of an interim study resolution, LR191, to explore the effect of universal licensing on groups that have traditionally faced barriers to occupational licensing; the hearing on LR191 was held Oct. 29 by the Nebraska Legislature’s Government, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee, where Sen. McCollister presented the “Amendments to LB263.”
Exclusion of the CPA profession is the result of conversations among former State Sen. Laura Ebke, Society Past Chairman Jim Greisch, Sweetwood, and I this past spring. Ebke is presently a senior fellow with the Platte Institute and is focused on the state’s job licensing laws. Greisch is a retired partner with RSM and formerly served on the Platte Institute Board of Directors.
Under universal recognition, workers with job licenses, career experience, and military specialties would be able to come to Nebraska and receive licenses for jobs they were trained for in other states. While this bill may have its place for certain occupations, we believe there is a critical difference between occupations and highly complex, technical professions whose work impacts the health, safety, and welfare of the public. High-impact professions such as the CPA profession require rigorous licensing, including high standards for education, examination, and experience.
While exclusion of the CPA profession from this legislation is positive news, the Society will continue to monitor this bill as it is anticipated to move through the Legislature in 2022.
Taxation of Accounting Services. If you attended the Society’s Fall CPE Conference, you heard a presentation on Blueprint Nebraska’s “Framework for Tax Modernization” by Nebraska Chamber President Bryan Slone, Platte Institute Chief Strategy Officer and former State Sen. Jim Smith, and retired CPA Jim Griesch. The Blueprint Nebraska plan includes policy changes to individual income tax, corporate income tax, sales tax (including the addition of a sales tax on accounting services), incentive programs, elimination of the inheritance tax, and funds for property tax relief. Although we have not taken a formal position on this framework, the Society has historically been opposed to sales tax on accounting services. We will continue monitoring the progress of this framework (and other proposals) should legislative proposals come to fruition in the coming session.
On the Federal Level. Society Chairman Erica Parks, Past Chairman Pat Meyer, and I attended the virtual AICPA Council Meetings held with the Nebraska congressional delegation the week of Oct. 25. Both Parks and Meyer are members of the AICPA Governing Council representing the state of Nebraska. Meetings were held with Rep. Adrian Smith, Sen. Deb Fischer, and Alan Feyerherm, who is chief of staff for Rep. Jeff Fortenberry.
Among the topics covered were:
- Providing taxpayers with targeted COVID-19 tax penalty relief from the underpayment of estimated tax penalty and late payment penalty for the 2020 tax year;
- Granting the IRS authority to issue disaster relief in a timely manner in response to state-declared disasters;
- Recognizing accounting as a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) profession; and
- Passing a Fiscal State of the Nation resolution that would ensure Congress is made aware of information in the federal financial statements so that they can gain a better perspective on the nation’s fiscal health. Since these meetings were held, the House has passed the resolution; it has yet to pass the Senate.
In addition, a small group of members participated in an in-person “CPA Roundtable” on Nov. 12 with Congressman Don Bacon in Omaha. Discussion included the bipartisan infrastructure deal as well as the Build Back Better framework. Rep. Bacon was one of the 13 House Republicans who has come under fire for voting for the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. He pointed out that the bill includes $2.5 billion for Nebraska roads, will provide more access to rural broadband, and will help fix the country’s highways, seaports, and locks. Most of the bill is paid for by unspent COVID money, said Bacon. He hopes the Democrats’ other bill, for $1.75 trillion to fund President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, does not succeed. Bacon said there has been a lot of misinformation on the infrastructure bill and that people were trying to attach these two bills together.