News Advisory: Three State Senators Offer Economic Opportunity Bills

News Advisory: Three State Senators Offer Economic Opportunity Bills

NEWS RELEASE from the Platte Institute

Attachment: Download file Nebraska's Hidden Tax

Contact: Adam Weinberg
(402) 452-3737

Nebraska’s Hidden Tax: Red Tape Regulation
Three State Senators Offer Economic Opportunity Bills


LINCOLN, NE – Today, the Platte Institute’s Director of Governor Relations Nicole Fox and Policy Director Sarah Curry will release a new report, “Nebraska’s Hidden Tax: Red Tape Regulation Harming Economic Growth,” at the Nebraska State Capitol Rotunda (1445 K Street, Lincoln, NE 68508). The news conference will begin at 10:00 a.m.

The report is now available online at and a PDF copy is attached to this release.

The report, authored by Curry, discusses the negative economic impact of state regulatory policies that have grown without needed scrutiny by lawmakers, sometimes over many decades.

“Over the years, more and more regulations have been added at the state and federal levels, which has increased the complexity and cost of doing business and has ultimately hindered Nebraska’s economy,” said Curry.

“A study by the Beacon Hill Institute finds that Nebraska state regulations on the private sector cost $473.8 million annually, including $302 million Nebraskans paid in licenses, fees, and permits in Fiscal Year 2016,” Curry said.

“Beyond the obvious financial costs of compliance, excessive regulation also imposes a hidden tax from lost economic opportunities,” said Nicole Fox.

Fox and Curry will be joined by Nebraska state Sens. Laura Ebke, Adam Morfeld, and John Murante. Each senator will present a legislative bill they are sponsoring this session to remove these barriers to economic growth and opportunity in Nebraska.  

Sen. Ebke is the sponsor of the Legislative Bill 299. The bill requires the Legislature to regularly review occupational licensing laws over a five-year cycle, along with proposals for new occupational licensing. The review process will create a framework that measures whether less restrictive alternatives are possible to meet the stated public health or safety concern of the regulations. LB299 also narrows the circumstances under which workers with a criminal record can be barred from obtaining licensure by a state board.

A new Platte Institute poll found that 62% of Nebraska voters surveyed across eight state legislative districts supported the policy behind LB299, including 67% of Republicans, 64% of Democrats, and 60% of Independents. Complete data for that poll is now available on the Platte Institute website.

Sen. Morfeld is the sponsor of Legislative Bill 756. The bill would prohibit local ordinances that create a total ban on short-term residential rentals, which are often facilitated using online services like Airbnb. Local governments would still retain the ability to regulate for nuisances, health, safety, and the collection of occupation taxes.

Sen. Murante is the sponsor of Legislative Bill 948. The bill is the product of the governor’s 2017 executive order reviewing state agency rulemaking. Sen. Murante served on an advisory task force as part of the state regulatory review.   

“The efforts of these senators from each party represented in the Unicameral shows that scrutinizing and cutting red tape is a nonpartisan issue that lowers barriers to economic growth, and creates more pathways to a paycheck for hardworking Nebraskans,” said Nicole Fox.

Here are key highlights of Sarah Curry’s new report:

  • The Mercatus Center at George Mason University analyzed Nebraska’s Administrative Code using a computer program. It identified 100,627 restrictions associated with state regulations. This total number of restrictions exceeds states with larger populations and economies, including Arizona, Michigan, Connecticut and Minnesota.
  • The top ten industries impacted by Nebraska state regulation in 2017 were health care services, nursing and residential care facilities, chemical manufacturing, hospitals, food manufacturing, animal production and aquaculture, transportation equipment manufacturing, crop production, professional, scientific, and technical services, and telecommunications.
  • Rules from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services contained more than 37,000 restrictions making it the largest regulator in Nebraska by this measure. The second largest is the Department of Environmental Quality with more than 8,500 regulations.
  • In Fiscal Year 2016, the State of Nebraska collected $302.3 million for fees, licenses and permits.
  • Nebraska requires a government license to work in nearly 200 different types of jobs.

Sarah Curry and Nicole Fox are available for comment on this story. To schedule an interview, please contact Adam Weinberg at (402) 452-3737 or

The Platte Institute advances policies that remove barriers to growth and opportunity in Nebraska. Learn more at

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