Nothing really grand about the Grand Compromise

A three-subject bill (LB1107) passed at the last minute by the 2020 Legislature has been called the Grand Compromise. But, now that the ink has dried, it’s really hard to find anything “grand” about it.

The 150-page measure, introduced by Speaker of the Legislature Sen. Jim Scheer of Norfolk, contains: a new tax credit based on the amount of property taxes paid to a taxpayer’s school district; a new business tax incentive program; and a requirement to provide matching funds for a potential project at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

The heavily amended version of the bill was presented to lawmakers 24 hours before they were to take a first-round vote. It was polished with all the “trust us” that the governor and the speaker could muster.

One has to think there was some skepticism because it took cloture motions (ceasing debate) to advance it from each round. Still, lawmakers have talked every year for as long as I can remember about decreasing the property tax burden while providing adequate and equitable funding for the public schools. What they avoided this year, as they always have, was meaningful reform of Nebraska’s tax system.


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