The biggest struggle with certain legislative bills is understanding exactly what their intent is and how it affects you. We see bills come through that are filled with a lot of legal terminology and are multiple pages long, or, in the case of LB720, can only pass with a certain result of other state issues. We recently sat down with our President/CEO, Derek Rusher, and the President of the Economic Development Council of Buffalo County, Darren Robinson, to break these issues down to understand exactly what is happening this session in Lincoln!
What you need to know before we start examining the issues:
-LB720 (named ImagiNE Nebraska) is a legislative bill that is looking to replace the current Nebraska Advantage Act which expires this year.
-LB720 will be an incentive program that offers opportunities to encourage new projects and people to come to Nebraska.
-LB720 was presented first in 2016, then again in 2019 Legislative session and was advanced, but stalled in final reading due to the desire by the body to come to a resolution on property tax relief, over all other initiatives. LB720 is being re-presented in 2020 as one of two major bills that must be developed, the other being property tax relief.
-If LB720 does not pass, we will be the only state in the entire nation that does not have a law of this type. This could end up being a major hindrance to our work force for many years to come.
Let's start with what LB720 is trying to do. LB720 would provide tax credits (tax credits are not deductions, they are actual dollars that can be taken away from a businesses tax debt, so if a business owes taxes to the government, these credits would help reduce that amount) to businesses that invest new capital, create jobs, and attract new employees and income to the state. This bill is meant to be a proponent for businesses and help them grow. Not just large corporations can take advantage of this, the recent amendment to LB720, AM2207, allows small businesses, farm operations, and smaller manufacturers to take advantage of the program. However, it would not only provide these tax credits, it would also make the process to receive the credits easier.
The effort to develop the Nebraska ImagiNE Act began in 2016 recognizing the current Nebraska Advantage Act was set to expire in 2020. The new program is backed by the State Chamber of Commerce and the Nebraska Economic Developers Association. The bill gathered input from business and community leaders across the state to improve upon Nebraska’s current business incentive structure and simplify the process. So, in 2020, The Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Council of Buffalo County are in full support of LB720. We hope to see this bill become law so that we can continue advocating and helping business succeed through great opportunities such as ImagiNE Nebraska! If you have any further questions about LB720, please feel free to reach out to Derek Rusher or Darren Robinson.