Supporters of Gov. Pete Ricketts’ tax cut proposal have only a few days left to get to a magic number.
“You’re a long ways from 33,” Sen. Steve Erdman of Bayard taunted after a vote on his motion to kill the bill failed 10-25-12.
The tally is significant.
Ten senators voted to kill Legislative Bill 947 Tuesday with only 25 voting against the measure, indicating support for the bill. Twelve declined to vote on the Erdman motion, seemingly uncommitted.
Sen. Jim Smith of Papillion, chair of the Revenue Committee and sponsor of the bill, needs 33 votes to overcome a filibuster and go to a vote on LB 947.
Erdman has reason to kill the bill. He backs a billion-dollar property tax cut proposal he hopes to place before Nebraska voters on the November ballot. Petitions are being circulated now.
Meanwhile, Smith hopes to return to the legislative floor for more debate, well aware he needs 33 votes.
“I would not continue this push and this fight if I did not think that there was a path to cloture if needed,” Smith tells reporters when asked if he has the votes.
Smith didn’t have the votes Tuesday. He hopes to secure them soon.
So does Gov. Ricketts who tells reporters he’s working to persuade reluctant senators and secure those 33 votes.
“Talking about what sort of things we might be able to do to improve the bill, to be able to get them onboard,” Ricketts says. “So, it’s a negotiation, it’s a conversation.”
LB 947 mixes cuts to both agricultural and residential property taxes with a cut to the corporate income tax; a package that would total $650 million once fully implemented in 2030.
The measure has undergone significant change during this session. Scrapped is the proposal to convert the Property Tax Relief Fund into a refundable income tax credit. The relief fund would remain at $224 million. Refundable tax credits for property taxes paid would be added.
Agricultural producers would receive a 2% refundable income tax credit on property taxes paid, increasing by 2% a year until it reaches 20% once fully implemented by 2027. Residential property owners would also receive a 20% credit, eventually. It would grow a bit more slowly until being fully implemented by 2030.
LB 947 would phase in a cut in the corporate income tax to 6.84%, the same as the top individual income tax rate. Cuts to the individual income tax rate have been scrapped.
The bill also contains $5 million for workforce development.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]