A move to adjust a tax incentive package for data centers has been put on hold until the sponsor can provide the cost of the adjustment.
Sen. Burke Harr of Omaha told fellow senators during floor debate they shouldn’t move to lower the threshold for data centers to qualify for tax breaks until the fiscal impact to state revenue is known.
“To go forward not knowing how much this cost I believe is irresponsible,” according to Burke.
The amendment to LB 1118 would have lowered the threshold to qualify for property tax breaks for data centers locating to Nebraska. The bill provides the incentive to any data center investing at least $300 million and employing a minimum of 30 workers. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Abbie Cornett of Bellevue, brought an amendment to the floor that would lower that threshold to $200 million.
While the bill has received nearly unanimous praise in the legislature eager to create jobs, the amendment attracted opposition immediately.
Appropriations Committee Chairman, Sen. Lavon Heidemann of Elk Creek, told the body he cannot support an amendment to the data center tax break bill until more is known about its cost. He suggested moving the underlying bill forward, but holding off on the amendment until more is known about it.
“Find out what the numbers are and then if we agree that we should put this amendment back on, pull it back from final reading, add the amendment back, once we get the numbers, once we know more what’s going on, once we get more comfortable with it, pull it back from final reading and then add it at that time, if it’s the body’s wish,” Heidemann stated.
Cornett withdrew the amendment, though she objected to suggestions its benefits won’t offset its cost.
“This is a bill for the entire state. It has a positive fiscal note up front and it has a positive fiscal note over the long run,” Cornett said.
Cornett said she wanted to amend the bill to allow more companies eyeing Nebraska to qualify.
Cornett told fellow senators she will return with the amendment once she has better figures on its cost.
AUDIO: Legislature debates amendment to data center incentive bill [15:45]