Blog for Rural America

The Center for Rural Affairs, a private, non-profit organization, is working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities. Permission to reprint items from this web log is hereby granted, on the condition that clear credit is given to the original source of the material. If the blog provides information for a story, please let us know by sending an email to johnc@cfra.org.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Nebraska 2005 Legislature bills of interest to the Center for Rural Affairs

-- from the desk of Jon Bailey, Director - Rural Research and Analysis Program, The Center for Rural Affairs

The Center policy research staff has reviewed all the bills introduced in the Nebraska 2005 Legislature (all 763 bills and 28 constitutional amendment resolutions), and in keeping with the legislative agenda approved by the CFRA Board at the last meeting, collaborations and grant obligations, we have developed the following list of bills that should merit the most attention and work (testimony, etc.):

LB 28 – the “Endow Nebraska Act,” to provide an income tax credit for certain charitable contributions.

LB 59 – changing provisions in the Microenterprise Development Act (namely, changing the definition of “microenterprise” to allow loans up to $35,000).

LB 71 – re-enact the LB 1348 value-added grant program.

LB 129 – an overhaul of the formula for state aid to schools.

LB 132 – the milk bill.

LB 133 – provide for a renewable energy credit.

LB 189 – establishing a renewable energy portfolio standard.

LB 208 – funding of federally qualified health centers to provide services for uninsured persons.

LB 273 – the Entrepreneurial Communities Act.

LB 309 – the Small Business Rural Microenterprise Tax Credit.

LB 334 – changing the Community Development Assistance Act to add entrepreneurial activities.

LB 346 – changes in the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit.

LB 404 – tax credit for livestock modernization and expansion.

LB 425 – the main budget bill – the microenterprise funding is the chief interest.

LB 550 – requiring a plan to fund community health centers.

LB 655 – creating a task force on small employers health plans.

There are, of course, many other bills we will be watch with interest – many other economic development bills, many bills to change the tax incentive programs (including a brand new version of LB 775), many bills to change the tax structure, and many other education bills (Kim Preston will be monitoring these). As Priority Bills are designated and bills begin to move to the floor our focus will likely change and some bills will be more closely watched (and worked on) and others will drop off the list.

There are two bills we are still analyzing that may be of interest – both deal with the authority of NIFA (the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority) to fund community economic development and agricultural projects.

Check back for weekly legislative activity updates.

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