A scaled-down version of Governor Heineman’s tax proposal comes before the Revenue Committee where it receives a scaled-back public hearing.
It wasn’t exactly a sprint, but the second day of public hearings on two tax proposals wasn’t a marathon either; certainly not the marathon public hearing held on Wednesday.
During that hearing, more than 50 people testified for 9 ½ hours before the Revenue Committee, meeting at the state Capitol in Lincoln.
That hearing took testimony on LB 405, a measure that would trade $2.4 billion in sales tax exemptions for elimination of the individual and corporate income tax.
The hearing Thursday afternoon took testimony on the smaller version, LB 406. It proposes the elimination of $400 million in sales tax exemptions in exchange for the elimination of the corporate income tax as well as the exemption of the first $12,000 of individual retirement income.
Gov. Dave Heineman acknowledged all the testimony given during the long meeting Wednesday during brief remarks before the committee on Thursday.
“We wanted to hear from our citizens and we heard from them,” Heineman stated, reiterating to the committee that he and his staff are available to discuss alternatives to the language in LB 405 and LB 406.
One interesting note about the Thursday public hearing was that when Revenue Committee Chairman Sen. Galen Hadley of Kearney asked for testimony from proponents, no one stepped forward.
That cleared the way for opponents, many of whom testified against LB 405 the day before.
Both agriculture and business interests stressed that while they appreciated the debate on state tax policy, they did not favor either bill. Both, they say, would increase costs and cripple competitiveness for Nebraska farmers and business owners.
Nucor vice president Doyle Hopper stated the smaller bill will still hit hard Nucor’s three factories in Norfolk.
“We don’t feel manufacturing can carry this brunt of the tax reform on our shoulders,” Hopper said. “These pieces of legislation directly impact our ability to compete and grow in Nebraska.”.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]