Nebraska Legislative Reminder/Update.
- The Nebraska Legislature began its 2017 session on Wednesday (1/4/17). The 105th Legislature (1st Session) is a 90-day session, which is slated to end June 2, 2017.
- There are 17 new senators, 5 of which defeated incumbents, and 49 total senators within the legislative body.
- Carryover legislation does not occur in this session, but it’s still anticipated that hundreds of new bills will be proposed through the January 18th Common themes for primary legislation include creating a new two-year state budget, address tax reforms (all-the-while dealing with a $900 million budget shortfall) and fixing the state prison system. In addition, and specific to business incentives, there will be a proposal for a new business incentive legislation (to replace the Nebraska Advantage Act) and additional monies requested for the Customized Job Training fund.
Jim Scheer of Norfolk named as the new Speaker of the unicameral.
Senators voted 27-22 to elect Sen. Scheer, whom will set the Legislature’s daily agenda and play a key role in deciding when legislation gets debated.
New Committee Chairs of the 105th Legislature:
Sen. Lydia Brasch of Bancroft for Agriculture Committee
Sen. John Stinner of Gering for Appropriations Committee
Sen. Brett Lindstrom of Omaha for Banking, Insurance and Commerce Committee
Sen. Joni Albrecht of Thurston for Business and Labor Committee
Sen. Mike Groene of North Platte for Education Committee
Sen. Tyson Larson of O’Neill for General Affairs Committee.
Sen. John Murante of Gretna for Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee
Sen. Merv Riepe of Omaha for Health and Human Services Committee
Sen. Laura Ebke of Crete for Judiciary Committee
Sen. Dan Hughes of Venango for Natural Resources Committee
Sen. Mark Kolterman of Seward for Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee
Sen. Jim Smith of Papillion for Revenue Committee
Sen. Curt Friesen of Henderson for Transportation and Telecommunications Committee
Sen. Justin Wayne for Urban Affairs Committee
Sen. Mike Hilgers of Lincoln for Rules Committee
Sen. Dan Watermeier of Syracuse for Executive Board
Performance Audit Results (of Tax Incentives) are in.
In November 2016, as a result of the passage of LB 1022 (during the 2016 legislative session), the Legislative Audit Office completed their performance audit of Nebraska’s tax incentive programs (100+ pages). The audit identified that, as of 2014, there were 78 incentivized companies that had earned $736 million in benefits through the Advantage Act. Nearly two-thirds of those benefits were tax credits on investments such as new construction, while 16 percent were credits on pay for new workers. A link to the report is located at the Nebraska Legislative website at http://www.nebraskalegislature.gov/pdf/reports/audit/naa_2016.pdf.
Economic Development around the Country.
During the past two years, Amazon.com has announced eight fulfillment centers in Illinois alone. In December, Amazon has made public additional plans to build a $90 million distribution hub in/near Lavonia, Michigan and another in Aurora, Illinois. The plant in Aurora will employ 1,000 associates and contain approximately 1 million square feet. Once construction is complete for the most recent announcements, Amazon will have created more than 7,000 full-time jobs in Illinois.
Carrier, in November, reached an agreement to keep approximately 1,000 factory jobs at its furnace plant in Indiana. Earlier in the year, Carrier had plans to relocate the plant’s manufacturing activity to Mexico.
CF Industries Holdings, a global leader in the manufacturing and distribution of nitrogen products, during December, successfully commissioned its new ammonia and urea plants at the company’s Nitrogen Complex in Port Neal, Iowa. The construction project cost in excess of $2B and at peak construction, there were approximately 4,500 employees working at the site.
A Minnetonka, Minnesota based company (CliqStudios), which is an online retailer of semi-custom kitchen cabinets, will invest $1.95 million to locate a new cabinet design center in St. Louis, Missouri. The company plans to hire 98 associates.
CoStar Group, a leading provider of commercial real estate information, analytics and online.