Tax Exemptions on Forefront of Many State Senator's Minds


      Nebraska lawmakers jumped right into the first day of introducing bills for this year's legislative session with many new laws that look to provide tax exemptions for many retirees.

      Omaha Sen. Bob Krist proposed one bill that would exclude military retirement pay and social security benefits from state income taxes.

      Sen. Jeremy Nordquist, also of Omaha, introduced another bill that would allow lower- and middle-income Nebraskans to not pay state income taxes on their social security benefits. To qualify, residents would need to have an income of $80,000 or less for married households or $60,000 or less for individuals.

      Two other tax exemption bills entered Thursday by Fremont Sen. Charlie Janssen were also aimed at social security benefits and military pensions.

      Another senator wanting to make changes in the tax arena was Omaha Sen. Pete Pirsch. Pirsch proposed a constitutional amendment that would increase the number of votes needed for the Legislature to increase taxes.

      Currently the group only needs a majority vote from the 49-members, but the proposed measure would see 29 votes needed to pass a state tax increase.

      Pirsch says the additional four votes would require supporters to make a more compelling case for tax increases without creating an insurmountable obstacle. He adds that the amendment would also serve as a check for the one-house Legislature.

      The amendment would require voter approval if it makes it past the Legislature.

      Lawmakers have a 10-day window to introduce the rest of their legislation with Thursday counting as day one.

      The session started Wednesday and is scheduled to end June 5.