Still much work needed on state budget
We are over halfway through the 90-day legislative session. Working with senators, we have already accomplished a few key priorities including important budget cuts.
Even with this progress, a lot of work remains ahead to pass a balanced budget, deliver tax relief for Nebraska families and pass other important bills before session concludes in early June.
This session, the number one priority is balancing the budget without raising taxes. Revenues have been relatively flat due to a decline in ag commodity prices.
With low commodity prices and lagging revenues, it is important to note that state tax revenues are still projected to grow slowly in the coming years. The revenue shortfall this year is a shortfall in the projected growth of spending and the state will still spend more in this budget than the last budget.
All state-funded entities need to be a part of the solution.
As my agencies, like Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture, reduce their growth in spending, we are asking other taxpayer funded entities like the University of Nebraska and our community colleges to find ways to reduce their growth in spending too. This is essential to balancing the budget.
The Legislature and I have already worked together on steps to address the current year’s budget by passing and signing some budget cuts. There is still a lot of work to do on the budget.
As the budget process moves forward, I continue to urge the Appropriations Committee to identify more places to cut the growth in spending and advance a budget that does not raise taxes.
Senators and I are also collaborating on tax reform plans.
Last week, the Revenue Committee voted to include property and income tax reform proposals in a comprehensive package they are building to advance to the full Legislature. Passing property and income tax reform together is critical to building a coalition of rural and urban senators to overcome a potential filibuster on the floor of the Legislature.
A new analysis conducted by the Nebraska Department of Revenue shows that the Agricultural Valuation Fairness Act introduced by Senator Brasch on my behalf would have had a major impact over the last 10 years.
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