News Release: Legislative Testimonies for January 23
Contact: Adam Weinberg
Phone: (402) 452-3737
Legislative Testimony for January 23: LB205 & LB50
Bills Would Impose New Job License, Raise Income Taxes
LINCOLN, NE – The Platte Institute will testify on one bill before the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee and four bills in the Revenue Committee today.
Platte Institute Director of Government Relations Nicole Fox will testify in opposition to Legislative Bill 205 in State Capitol room 1510. While the hearing begins at 1:30 p.m., LB205 is currently the third and final bill on the agenda.
Fox will oppose LB205, which would create a new job licensing law for surgical technologists. Surgical technologists work under the supervision of a licensed surgeon to prepare operating rooms, sterilize equipment, pass instruments to surgeons, and maintaining a sterile environment.
In most states, surgical technologists are not licensed by the state, but may carry industry certifications. In 2016, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services’ 407 Credentialing Review Process, which is used to determine the scope of practice for health care professions, considered whether surgical technologists should be licensed.
“In reviewing the Board of Health and Director’s reports, it was made clear that they recommended against licensure,” said Nicole Fox.
Fox also notes in her testimony that other, less-restrictive regulatory tools are available for surgical technologists, including registration, voluntary certification, or insurance, which are each considerations of the Occupational Board Reform Act licensing review process (LB299) the Legislature adopted last year.
“Currently, Nebraska falls in line with most of the country, therefore we are competitive as of today. LB205 would reverse this status,” said Fox.
In the Revenue Committee, Platte Institute Policy Director Sarah Curry will testify in opposition to Legislative Bill 50. The hearing will be held in State Capitol room 1524 and begins at 1:30 p.m. LB50 is currently second on the agenda.
LB50 would raise income taxes by creating three additional personal income tax brackets in Nebraska’s tax code. The lowest of the three new brackets is a 7.84% marginal tax rate on individual incomes of $100,000 and over, or $200,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly.
While not listed as brackets in the bill, additional tax rates of one percent would apply to taxable income over $1 million and two percent over $2 million. That means the second and third brackets would be 8.84% and 9.84%, giving Nebraska the country’s 5th highest top income tax rate.
“While this bill’s intent is to target the wealthiest in our state, the unintended consequence is that it will also put additional pressure on small businesses in Nebraska that file through the individual income tax,” said Sarah Curry.
“Over the last 30 years, sole proprietors, S corporations, limited liability corporations (LLCs), and partnerships have seen tremendous growth. These non-corporate firm types are often referred to as “pass-through” entities because the firm’s profits are passed directly through to the owners and taxed on the owner’s individual tax return. If this tax policy were enacted, we would be imposing a significantly higher tax rate on our small local businesses, who are the backbone of our state’s economy and many of our communities,” said Curry.
Currently, Nebraska has the country’s 16th highest top personal income tax rate.
Curry will also provide neutral testimony on three bills that relate to tax expenditures: LB5, LB69, and LB88. Tax expenditures are provisions in the tax code which provide deductions, credits, exemptions, or exclusions for certain taxpayers or economic activities.
“Because it is far easier to adopt credits, deductions, and exemptions that appear small than it is to enact broad-based tax reforms, past Revenue Committees have been much more inclined to use these policies, which target specific groups or sectors of the economy,” said Curry.
“However, while tax expenditures often lower tax costs for targeted groups or specific goods and services, the cost of these tax breaks is then borne by other, non-favored groups or goods and services which bear a correspondingly higher tax burden,” said Curry.
The Platte Institute will track proposed tax expenditure legislation throughout the session.
Fox and Curry’s testimonies are posted online at PlatteInstitute.org/Testimony.
To schedule an interview on these topics, please contact Adam Weinberg at (402) 452-3737 or email@example.com.
The Platte Institute advances policies that remove barriers to growth and opportunity in Nebraska. More media resources are available at PlatteInstitute.org/Media.