Senator Joni Albrecht
WEEKLY UPDATE April 3, 2020
As of Friday, April 3, 2020 at 10:00 P.M., the Governor has ordered implementation of Directed Health Measures (DHM) in all 93 counties in Nebraska to mitigate the spread of COVID19. The Directive involving the counties in Legislative District 17 is in effect until May 11. My office is receiving daily COVID 19 updates from the Governor’s office and many other sources throughout the state. We are also receiving notice of resources. I have included a few that may be useful to you as we work through this challenging time together.
COVID 19 UPDATES:
Nebraska Dept. of Health & Human Services http://dhhs.ne.gov/coronavirus
Nebraska COVID-19 Information Line: (402) 552-6645. Hours are: 8 A.M. to 8 P.M. CST – every day. COVID 19 Announcements available in English and En Espanol. State agencies are sharing information using the #NECOVID19#
Nebraska Dept. of Agriculture info for AG producers: nda.nebraska.gov/COVID- 19
FINANCIAL AND OTHER RESOURCES:
Unemployment Insurance https://neworks.nebraska.gov/vosnet/Default.aspx
Enhanced unemployment insurance operates as a federal-state partnership. In Nebraska program includes:
– An additional $600 per week for up to eight weeks under CARES Act
– An additional 13 weeks of benefits under CARES Act
-First week waiting period waived by Governor
– Work search requirement waived by Governor
– Coverage temporarily extended to include self-employed individuals
– Caution: The benefits are intended for those who have lost jobs or who have been laid off due to the virus and due to no fault of their own. If someone has quit or quits a job voluntarily, that person is ineligible to receive the expanded benefits.
Small Business Assistance: https://www.sba.gov/funding-
Small Business Administration Programs through local lenders include:
– Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans, designed to help small
businesses and non-profits keep employees on through the crisis. Available to eligible farmers and ranchers as well as small businesses and non-profits.
Additional information for AG producers: https://www.nefb.org/covid-19
– Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and Grants up to $2million with
principal and interest deferment for small businesses with 500 or fewer employees.
– Small Business Debt Relief Program to assist for up to six months with existing non-disaster SBA loans
– Employee Retention Tax Credit for businesses that have had to be suspended or closed during the crisis. *This credit is not available to employers that have participated in the Payroll Protection Program.
Deferral of Employer Payroll Taxes to assist with cash flow concerns.
PARENT, FOOD, and SHELTER
School food programs for students are operating. Call your local school district for distribution location and for any guideline information.
United Way Parent Resources, including online helpline, School food programs, and more. unitedwaysiouxland.com
USDA Distance Learning grant program (2nd window open 4.11.2020) to further access to distance learning and telehealth in rural communities www.rd.usda.gov
Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT).
Feeding Kids During COVID-19: Emergency Grants and Updated Resources.
Alternate temporary housing for former guests at the Warming Shelter and Mission
Contact Amy Keirns 712 279 6255 for more information.
As mentioned in last week’s update, the Legislature will reconvene at some point after the current crisis passes and at that time, we expect early debate on the Revenue Committee’s Property Tax Relief proposal (LB1106). LB1106 contains amended provisions of LB974. Earlier in the Session, I provided District 17 constituents with points from LB974 that I considered important, including funding that would be provided to the District 17 school districts under the bill. Looking at LB1106, following is a summary of its provisions as currently contained in the amendment:
The State does not levy or collect property taxes; property taxes are levied by local government and schools. Therefore, in order to reduce property taxes, it is necessary to reduce local government and school district reliance on those taxes. While other states typically fund their schools primarily with state revenues,
Nebraska has not for many years. Consequently, schools typically levy the largest portion of local taxes on property owners.
LB1106 is designed to reduce the heavy reliance of school districts on property taxes by increasing state funding to schools. In its amended form, LB1106 will:
– Reduce each school district’s reliance on property taxes by increasing state funding to schools by $520 million. This state funding increases will step in over a 3-year period as property values available for school funding purposes decrease;
– Slows the growth of spending over the next three years from the 4% historical annual growth to align more closely with the taxpayers’ ability to pay;
– Nebraska schools will remain well-funded, with per-pupil spending greater than all but one surrounding state;
– Will add per-pupil funding for every student in the state through foundation aid;
– Per-pupil funding will be based upon a set percentage of State general revenues divided by the number of public school students;
– Equalization aid will continue to be available using “needs based” criteria and will remain funded, even if foundation aid were to fall because of revenue below projections;
– Transition aid will be available for the first three years of the bill’s
implementation to ensure a smooth transition from property taxes to additional state funding; and
– Both the Governor and the Chair of the Revenue Committee have reviewed the numbers and have agreed that the provisions of LB1106 fit within the Budget.
The Revenue Committee is currently exploring what, if any, effect the State’s response to the current COVID 19 crisis may have on the amendment to LB1106 as proposed. I will keep constituents in District 17 up to date as we learn more.
As always, I invite you to let me know your thoughts, ideas, concerns, or suggestions by contacting me at email@example.com or by calling my office at 402.471.2716.