Legislative Bill 935 would require more data on the Nebraska Advantage Act, but it ran into trouble during floor debate as senators, such as Senator Mark Kolterman of Seward, complained its requirements would be overly burdensome to companies receiving the tax break.
“What are the effects of this going to be?” Kolterman asked during legislative floor debate.
Kolterman echoed the complaints of senators opposed to the bill, claiming the measure would add to the already burdensome bureaucratic paperwork required of businesses claiming the tax breaks under the Nebraska Advantage Act.
“What are we going to get for the added cost of collecting and looking at all this data?” Kolterman asked.
LB 935, as amended in committee, would have allowed for data on the Nebraska Advantage Act to be shared between the Department of Revenue and the Department of Economic Development. It would have required the Revenue Department of keep certain Advantage Act records longer than previously required. It also would have required the companies receiving the tax break to provide additional information than now required, such as what wages and benefits are being paid to the jobs added through the act as well as the location of those jobs.
Opposition arose from business interest, such as the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce, to the added business requirements.
Sen. John Kuehn of Heartwell, chair of the Legislative Performance Audit Committee, told fellow senators the bill would provide the legislature the information they need to evaluate the effectiveness of the Nebraska Advantage Act, which has distributed more than $842 million in tax breaks, $473 million of which has yet to be claimed.
In the face of opposition to the bill, Kuehn compromised with the business community and stripped the requirements for additional business reporting from the measure.
“Now, we’ll see. Are the chambers actually looking at technical problems? Are the business interests actually looking at structural things or are they just opposing the bill on its face?” Kuehn asked during floor debate.
With the change, LB 935 advanced without opposition.
Afterward, speaking with reporters, Kuehn expressed disappointment with the changes. When a reporter suggested he received half a loaf, Kuehn responded that it was more like a quarter of a loaf.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]