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Advocacy & Policy

Nebraska State Capital photo provided courtesy of the Office of the Capitol Commission.

Policy & Advocacy News for the Week of April 3, 2023

Policy & Advocacy News 

This edition features:

Tax Bill Debated in the Nebraska Legislature

How to Stay on Top of Legislation Important to You

 

Tax Legislation Debate in the Legislature

Aside from money from the federal government, taxes are the main source of revenue for the state. Decisions about revenue and expenditures shape Nebraska's fiscal policy, which affects everyone who lives here. Engaging with these measures is daunting because tax measures are complex, and the process is hard to follow -- already six bills have been amended into LB754.

One amendment adopts a version of the childcare tax credit (originally proposed in a bill introduced by Senator Bostar).  

Two groups are eligible for the credit: (1) parents/guardians who have a child, aged 5 or under, enrolled in licensed day care, and (2) parents/guardians whose total household income doesn't exceed the federal poverty level.  

Eligible households with income of $75,000 or less would receive a $2,000 tax credit 

Eligible households with income from $75,001 to $150,000 would receive a $1,000 tax credit 

Households with income over $150,000 wouldn’t be eligible for a credit 

However, only $15 million in tax credits are allowed each year. A household must submit an application to claim the credit, and the Department of Revenue will review and approve applications in the order they're received. Once they hit the $15 million cap, households won't be able to claim the tax credit—even if they're otherwise eligible.   

Issues with LB754

Despite this provision, wealthy Nebraskans and corporations are by far the biggest beneficiaries, with more than 80% of the tax cuts going to the top 25% of earners. 

Tax revenue decisions often have an indirect effect on our operations. Still, Together and similar nonprofit organizations typically don't engage with tax policy, choosing to focus on issues directly related to our mission and purpose. However, this legislation will likely have significant implications for us all of us, directly and indirectly, so it's worth bringing to your attention here.   

For more details on the package of proposed income tax cuts, OpenSky has this overview:

A Breakdown of What's Included in Package of Proposed Income Tax Cuts

To take action and/or stay engaged with this issue, check out:

Tax Cuts Proposed for Wealthy Nebraskans and Out-of-State Corporations 

 

How to Keep Updated with Legislation Important to You

This newsletter mostly provides updates on policies related to our mission at Together, but you may want to track other bills that address issues that are important to you. Here are some ways to stay up to date on the legislature's actions:

BillTracker

https://www.nebraska.gov/billtracker/

Create an account for this free service 

Track up to 15 bills with email notifications of activity

 

Legislative Calendar

To find out what will be discussed on a given day, go to the legislature homepage

Click on "View Day ## Activity" at the top:

The legislative calendar (on the right) provides information about future dates. 

For the current date, click on the "Agenda" link to see the bills the Speaker has scheduled for debate that day. 

 

Worksheet

To become law, bills generally progress through these steps: 

Introduction - Committee - General File - Select File - Final Reading - Governor 

You can see how far a particular bill has advanced by looking at the worksheet. 

Here's an example -- the worksheet for March 29.

Click on "View Day ## Activity" at the top of the legislature homepage

Click on the "Worksheet" link (the last link under the "Legislative Activity for [Date]" heading)

 

Together takes the experience and voice of those it serves to elected officials. Together advocates for policies at the local and state level to increase housing stability, safe and affordable housing, food security, and economic security.

 

Advocacy

Together's advocacy team works with a broad coalition of organizations throughout our community to advance policies in areas of affordable housing, access to food, and economic security for those in need.

Research

Our research supports Together by evaluating programs, advising on best practices, and making sure that the experiences of those we serve are accessible to our elected officials. We also partner with other organizations in the community to provide research and evaluation services as needed.

Results

Together has led efforts to provide safe housing by advocating for the city to pass a rental registration and proactive inspection ordinance. The advocacy team has worked on key legislative efforts to increase tenant protections at the state level, reduce the cliff-effect in SNAP and childcare programs, and enact a statewide eviction moratorium in response to COVID-19. Together’s advocacy efforts resulted in millions of dollars of CARES funding directed towards rental assistance for Omaha families.

By collaborating with other advocacy organizations to help support initiatives addressing the root causes of poverty, Together is able to keep hundreds of families in their home. 

Our 2022 Impact

  • Households served through Rapid Rehousing Program

    87

  • Number of pantry deliveries to households

    3,166

  • Households served through the Crisis Engagement Program

    1,114

  • Individuals served through Choice Food Pantry

    141,216

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