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Legislature wraps up 2024 session without passing tax bill, Governor promises special session later this year

Posted at 4:33 PM, Apr 18, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-18 17:35:41-04

LINCOLN — Back in January Governor Jim Pillen made a promise to Nebraskans, he would work with the legislature to cut property taxes by 40%.

Over the last few months that promise shaped itself into LB388, a bill that held the most important pieces of the Governor’s tax plan.

But when it came time for the final debate on LB388 support for the governor’s plan began to wane.

“This bill, even with the amendment that pared it down, is still one of the largest tax increases in state history with over $200 million dollars in new taxes,” said Senator Julie Slama.

Debate on LB388 opened with a filibuster that was joined by conservatives and progressives alike to oppose raising taxes.

The debate, as short as it was, was contentious with supporters of the tax plan mounting a last minute effort to push the bill through.

“It is…it’s not OK that our property taxes are as high as they are, that’s what’s OK,” said Senator Linehan.

In a surprising move Linehan, the bills introducer, asked for the speaker to pass over the bill before a cloture vote was called, effectively killing LB388 for this session.

That means as of right now there will be no tax hikes on CBD, cigarettes, hemp products, digital advertising or candy.

It also means there are no new caps or spending controls on local or county governments.

But as the writing on the wall for LB388 became clear the conversation quickly turned from the bill to a potential special session, and Linehan said she was confident the governor will make it happen.

“Im pretty certain, and I think that was the general consensus on the floor, we will be back,” said Senator Linehan.

This isn’t the first time we have heard calls for a special session this year.

A few weeks ago conservative podcaster Charlie Kirk pushed lawmakers to switch the state’s electoral college votes to a winner take all system.

With a special session likely winner take all could be addressed.

But the man behind that bill, Senator Loren Lippincott, says that isn't likely.

“It’s pretty much just status quo, the votes really have not changed amongst the members of the legislature. We do not have 33 votes in order to break a filibuster,” said Lippincott.