Tax deduction, tuition waiver for law enforcement officers advanced

A bill that would provide a state income tax deduction to retired law enforcement officers advanced to the second round of debate March 3 after lawmakers amended it to include a tuition waiver for eligible officers.

Sen. Eliot Bostar
Sen. Eliot Bostar

Under LB1273, introduced by Lincoln Sen. Eliot Bostar, a retired individual who was employed full time as a certified law enforcement officer for at least 20 years and who is at least 60 at the end of the taxable year could reduce their federal adjusted gross income by the amount of health insurance premiums they paid during the taxable year.

The deduction would go into effect in tax year 2023.

Bostar said the proposal would help retired officers cover the costs of long-term mental and physical health problems that often result from a career in law enforcement.

A Revenue Committee amendment, adopted 33-0, includes the provisions of LB1272, introduced by Sen. Steve Halloran of Hastings.

Those provisions would increase a current tuition waiver for eligible law enforcement officers from 30 percent to 100 percent. The waiver applies to the resident tuition charged by any state university, college or community college.

Halloran said the waiver could help recruit and retain law enforcement officers and incentivize them to continue their education.

The state Department of Revenue estimates that LB1273 as amended would reduce state general fund revenue by $176,000 in fiscal year 2023-24 and $187,000 in FY2024-25.

Senators advanced the bill to select file on a vote of 41-0.

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