Heineman Approves Bills to Give More Than $400 Million in Tax Relief Over Next 5 Years


Gov. Dave Heineman has announced more than $400 million in tax relief for Nebraskans that will take effect over the next five years.

Heineman has stated that the priority for this year's Legislature is to provide responsible and meaningful tax relief. He signed several tax relief bills into law Wednesday morning.

"I am pleased that Nebraska taxpayers will bereceiving more than $412 million in tax relief, which is responsible,meaningful and significant tax relief," he said Wednesday.

Included are measures that will eliminate sales tax on agricultural machinery and equipment, expand Nebraska's Homestead Exemption Program, provide property tax relief for qualifying veterans and increase funds in the Property Tax Credit Program.

A more in depth synopsis of the new laws from the governor's office can be found below:

LB 987 will index Nebraska'sindividual income tax brackets for inflation, as well as exempt portions ofsocial security and veteran retirement. Specifically, the bill will exemptsocial security income for taxpayers with an adjusted gross income of $58,000or less for married persons filing jointly, and $43,000 or less for all others.This bill also allows a veteran to make a one-time election, within two yearsafter separation from military service, to exclude portions of militaryretirement benefits. The exclusion may be to either exclude 40 percent of themilitary retirement benefit income for seven consecutive years or to exclude 15percent of the military retirement benefit for all taxable years after theperson turns 67.

LB 96 eliminates sales tax onthe sale, lease, rental or storage of repair or replacement parts foragricultural machinery and equipment that are used in commercial agriculture.

LB 905 increases the PropertyTax Credit Program by $25 million on an annual basis, in addition to thecurrent $115 million ongoing funding. In 2007, the governor worked with theLegislature to create the Property Tax Credit Program to offer property taxrelief in Nebraska. The amount contributed has stayed flat over the last fewyears while statewide property values have increased. This bill was signed into law on March 29.

LB 986 will expand Nebraska'shomestead exemption program so that more Nebraskans could qualify. This billincreases amounts of household income limits. For a 100 percent exemption fromproperty tax, single filers can earn up to $26,900. As household incomeincreases up to a maximum of $39,500, the exemption percentage is phased-downincrementally. For a 100 percent exemption, married filers can earn up to$31,600. As household income increases up to a maximum of $46,900, thisexemption percentage is phased-down incrementally. This bill also creates a neweligibility category under the homestead exemption program to include certainindividuals with developmental disabilities.

LB 1087 will expand eligibilityfor the current property tax homestead exemption to include a 100 percentproperty tax exemption for honorably discharged veterans. To qualify, veteransmust be drawing compensation for a 100 percent service-connected disabilityfrom the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, beginning in 2015. This bill alsogives a 100 percent exemption to unremarried widows or widowers of honorablydischarged veterans who died as a result of a service-connected disability, aswell as to unremarried widows or widowers of servicemen and servicewomen whosedeath on active duty was service connected.

Additionally, Gov. Heineman outlined an additionalbill that just reached his desk Monday that he plans to sign.

LB 867 will exempt sales and usetaxes on purchases made by historic automobile museums, and would exempt salesand use tax on the sale, lease or rental of gold or silver bullion and U.S.postage charges. The bill would exempt non-profit corporations that makecharitable donations of land from the documentary stamp tax and accelerate thesports arena sales tax turnback payments to the Ralston arena. It would alsoexempt retail sales of compressed natural gas that is used for motor vehiclefuel.