Access to tax incentive data advanced

A bill that would ensure the Legislative Audit Office’s access to data necessary for conducting performance audits of tax incentive programs advanced from select file March 10.

LB1022, introduced by the Legislative Performance Audit Committee, would give the office direct access to all agency databases containing relevant program information. The bill would allow the office to request confidential state Department of Revenue data and remove current provisions giving the speaker of the Legislature and the chairperson of the committee access to confidential data in certain circumstances.

A committee amendment adopted on general file would extend the incentive programs’ expiration by three years.

Sen. Paul Schumacher of Columbus introduced an amendment that would extend it by only one year. He said the Legislature should wait to review an upcoming performance audit before giving a long-term extension to programs that grant millions of dollars in tax credits.

“We should not give up our option to control the fate of this major, major expenditure,” Schumacher said, “and that is what we’d be doing if we just move it down the road.”

The amendment failed on a 14-20 vote and senators advanced the bill to final reading on a voice vote.

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