Worries about how much state revenue is coming in and how much is being given away have emerged in the legislature.
Several measures have come before the Unicameral, asking for tax breaks to spur economic growth. So many that Sen. Paul Schumacher of Columbus makes jokes about it.
“Since I’ve been appointed to the Revenue Committee, I’ve felt like a Catholic priest at Christmastime, hearing confession; a whole line of people outside my door, all wanting tax forgiveness,” Schumacher joked during floor debate on one bill offering tax breaks for biochips.
It isn’t as much of a joke to Sen. Greg Adams of York who worries about the amount of tax breaks being requested this session.
“What happens if we lay too much of this out and all of the sudden, we’ve diminished our revenue bucket more than what we’d anticipated?” Adams asked during an interview with Nebraska Radio Network.
The debate on how many incentives the state can afford to give to businesses arose during consideration of LB 830, which would provide biochip manufacturers the same break on sales tax enjoyed by agriculture.
LB 830 sponsor, Sen. Galen Hadley of Kearney, thought the debate was off-base. He argued that growth of the biochip industry in Nebraska could generate $41.5 million, more than off-setting the tax breaks provided. Hadley also argued that tax breaks don’t cost the state, the pay over time.
“You can either raise taxes to fund government or you can grow the economy to try to fund government,” Hadley stated.
The legislature has advanced the bill.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]