In 2020, Nebraska’s most expensive subsidy program, the Nebraska Advantage Act – which in 2005 replaced the controversial LB 775/Employment and Investment Growth Act – expired and stopped accepting new applications. However, existing agreements will still cost Nebraskans over $184 million annually, according to the latest figure, and will continue to cost a diminishing amount every year until 2050 as more awards end.
The decision not to renew the Nebraska Advantage Act may have been influenced by the Performance Audit Committee in the Legislative Audit Office, which concluded that the program’s costs were not worth the benefits in the long term. Starting in late 2020, the ImagiNE Nebraska Act took its place with an annual cap of $100 million.
The Department of Revenue publishes annual reports dating back to 1997 on Nebraska’s tax incentives, but there is no information on job, wage, and investment outcomes. Recipients of grant and fund programs are disclosed by the Department of Economic Development in their annual “a year in review” reports that offer slightly more information on programs, including the number of jobs created.
The Administrative Division of the Governor’s Office prepares Nebraska’s Annual Comprehensive Financial Reports (ACFRs). However, the costs of another now-defunct (but still-paying-out) Invest Nebraska Act and the Community Development Assistance Act are kept hidden and excluded from the total due to the state’s taxpayer confidentiality laws. Localities in Nebraska generally report tax abatement programs pursuant to Statement No. 77 with the most often reported program being tax increment financing.