Bill to improve tax incentive audits approved

Lawmakers passed a bill March 15 intended to improve legislative performance audits of the state’s tax incentive programs.

LB936, introduced by the Legislative Performance Audit Committee, makes a number of changes to the Legislative Performance Audit Act. The act requires the Legislative Audit Office to conduct performance audits that review state agency programs in order to evaluate the agency’s success in effectively implementing legislative intent.

Among other changes, the bill extends from three to five the number of years between audit reviews of tax incentive programs. The bill also requires that audits analyze the cost per full-time worker and whether job growth in businesses receiving tax incentives is at least 10 percent above industry average.

Finally, the bill defines a high-quality job as one that averages at least 35 hours of employment per week and pays wages that are at least 10 percent higher than the statewide industry sector average. The wage also must equal or exceed 110 percent of the Nebraska average weekly wage if the job is in a county with a population of less than 100,000 inhabitants, or 120 percent if the job is in a county with a population of more than 100,000 inhabitants.

LB936 passed on a vote of 48-0.

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