The Full Platter

Help entrepreneurs find paths to success in the pandemic

Help entrepreneurs find paths to success in the pandemic

A recent Wall Street Journal article opens with this line: “The coronavirus destroyed jobs. It also created entrepreneurs.” Although the economy has struggled throughout the pandemic, the challenges have opened up new opportunities for some, as well. “As horrible as [the pandemic] is, and as badly as it has affected so many people, it has...

By Laura Ebke

Nebraska highways ranked 12th ahead of a less-traveled holiday season

Nebraska highways ranked 12th ahead of a less-traveled holiday season

As health officials advise to avoid large family gatherings this Thanksgiving, and gas prices remain on the lower side, many Americans might take to the highways for a road trip with the people in their COVID bubble. Though AAA travel projections show a major reduction in travel plans from last Thanksgiving, particularly among air passengers,...

By Adam Weinberg

Nebraska has low unemployment again, but for how long?

Nebraska has low unemployment again, but for how long?

The Nebraska Department of Labor reports that the state’s October 2020 unemployment rate declined to 3%, which ranks as the country’s lowest for the third consecutive month. Nebraska’s unemployment rate fell 0.6% from September to October, with non-farm employment increasing by 8,912. Nebraska has not seen an unemployment rate this low since before the pandemic...

By Adam Weinberg

Local sales tax rates increase in 2021 for some jurisdictions

Local sales tax rates increase in 2021 for some jurisdictions

Many Nebraska cities levy local sales taxes in addition to the state rate. Cities and counties in Nebraska are authorized to levy a local sales tax under the Local Option Revenue Act (applicable to cities) or Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-319 to 13-326 (applicable to counties). This law allows cities and counties to levy their...

By Sarah Curry

Nebraska continues strong recovery with budget surplus

Nebraska continues strong recovery with budget surplus

The October General Fund tax revenues are in and it looks like Nebraska is not in danger of having a large budget deficit like some states around the nation are experiencing. According to the October figures, fiscal year net tax revenues are 7% above the certified forecast and for the month of October they are...

By Sarah Curry

What is Nebraska’s likelihood of enacting a tax increase next year?

What is Nebraska’s likelihood of enacting a tax increase next year?

That is the focus of a most recent white paper from a private sector consulting firm, MultiState.  They conducted an analysis of the 50 states and their likelihood of enacting a tax increase next year. Nebraska is in the “lower risk” category thanks to not having a large budget deficit, having an accepted amount in...

By Sarah Curry

What do the 2020 elections mean for tax policy?

What do the 2020 elections mean for tax policy?

Politics and policy are not always moving in the same direction, and tax policy was one area where many voters appear to have sent in a split ticket on the federal and state level in the 2020 election. On the federal side, a likely Biden victory means a new administration will hold the veto pen...

By Adam Weinberg

Approval of expanded gambling should boost property tax credit fund

Approval of expanded gambling should boost property tax credit fund

Nebraska’s 2020 election results are in and Initiative #431 passed, allowing the state to levy a 20% tax on all gross gaming revenue generated within licensed racetracks. Along with companion ballot measures approving expanded gambling, this means slot machines and table gambling will be allowed along with their respective regulations. The licensed horse racetracks in...

By Sarah Curry

Nebraska ranks 17th in cosmetology board capture index

Nebraska ranks 17th in cosmetology board capture index

A new study from Arizona State University’s Center for the Study of Economic Liberty (CSEL) focuses on the “regulatory capture” of cosmetology licensing boards around the country. It shows the Nebraska cosmetology board ranked in the middle of the 34-place pack (multiple states are tied for ranks). Regulatory capture in occupational licensing refers to the...

By Laura Ebke

Court: Lincoln cottage food lawsuit can move forward

Court: Lincoln cottage food lawsuit can move forward

A lawsuit over city ordinances imposed on home bakers and cottage food producers in Lincoln can move forward. Lancaster County District Court Judge John A. Colborn rejected the city’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, which was filed by area home baker Cindy Harper earlier this year. The city had shut down Harper’s home-based baking operation,...

By Adam Weinberg

More housing may be built in Grand Island, but not everyone is happy

More housing may be built in Grand Island, but not everyone is happy

A typical zoning hearing in Grand Island shows some of the challenges Nebraska faces in addressing its housing shortage. People will acknowledge more housing is needed, but many current homeowners don’t want new housing to be located near their properties, particularly if it requires changes in zoning that alters the type or style of housing...

By Adam Weinberg

Economic Forecasting Board projects higher state tax receipts

Economic Forecasting Board projects higher state tax receipts

The Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board met today and increased the forecast for the expected tax revenue the state will receive during the 2020-2021 fiscal year. While this was one of the regularly scheduled meetings, this meeting had a completely different mood and focus due to the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and recent legislative changes....

By Sarah Curry

Economics can help explain empty campaign promises

Economics can help explain empty campaign promises

“The first lesson of economics is scarcity: there is never enough of anything to fully satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.” – Thomas Sowell People run for public office for a variety of reasons. For many, the decision is because they want...

By Nicole Fox

These states set the example for a better Nebraska tax system

These states set the example for a better Nebraska tax system

Today, the 2021 State Business Tax Climate Index was released. Nebraska’s rank has remained unchanged from last year, which is unsurprising, because structural reform has not been accomplished in the Cornhusker State. However, states rising in the rankings, like Kentucky and North Carolina, have significantly overhauled their tax codes and have seen the positive benefits...

By Sarah Curry