Government Spending

News in Nebraska with Matt Wynn of the Flatwater Free Press

News in Nebraska with Matt Wynn of the Flatwater Free Press

A new nonprofit journalism outlet will help to fill gaps in Nebraska’s media market by telling statewide stories and improving government transparency. Former USA Today and Omaha World-Herald data journalist Matt Wynn discusses the launch of The Flatwater Free Press. You can watch the video on YouTube or listen to the podcast episode on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. A...

5 top priorities in Nebraska’s latest budget (and 8 you might miss)

5 top priorities in Nebraska’s latest budget (and 8 you might miss)

In odd numbered years, the Nebraska Legislature enacts its biennial (two-year) budget. The Appropriations Committee’s proposal typically comes a few months after the governor releases their proposed budget at the State of the State address at the beginning of the year. The version coming out of the Appropriations Committee is the one that will be...

By Sarah Curry

Platte Institute recommendations for American Rescue Plan dollars

Platte Institute recommendations for American Rescue Plan dollars

Nebraska will receive around $5 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the latest round of COVID relief enacted by Congress. Nebraska state and local governments were allocated more than $2.3 billion. Of that amount, the state of Nebraska will receive $1.1 billion, counties will get $375.2 million, and municipalities will be given $292...

Omaha and Lincoln’s Growing Challenge in Pension Funding

Omaha and Lincoln’s Growing Challenge in Pension Funding

Executive Summary Public pension debts from three major municipal plans in Nebraska are approaching $1 billion, and an analysis of Omaha’s two municipal systems and Lincoln’s public safety plan suggest that this shortfall is likely to continue to expand unless policymakers make meaningful changes to how the city funds and manages the retirement plans. In...

By Zachary Christensen, Jordan Campbell

New state COVID aid dollars may have confusing strings attached

New state COVID aid dollars may have confusing strings attached

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 will provide more than $500 billion of aid to state and local governments. Much of this money will go to state and local governments that have already seen their revenues recover from last year’s recession. Because some states are currently posting revenue surpluses, they may be encouraged...

By Sarah Curry

The Full Platter Podcast: 21 Great Bills for 2021

The Full Platter Podcast: 21 Great Bills for 2021

Senators have introduced hundreds of bills in the new legislative session. We discuss 21 of them that we’re supporting to remove barriers for Nebraskans in 2021. Resources mentioned in this episode: The Platte Institute’s Take Action Page Find Your Senator Wyoming Legislature considers universal recognition of occupational licenses Bills discussed in this episode (listed by...

November tax revenues remain strong as 2021 Legislature approaches

November tax revenues remain strong as 2021 Legislature approaches

Nebraska’s November General Fund tax revenues are in, and the good news is that revenue forecasts were both exceeded by actual collections for both the month and the fiscal year. According to a press release from the Nebraska Department of Revenue, the month of November saw revenues 14.3% above the certified forecast and revenues for the...

By Sarah Curry

Nebraska highways ranked 12th ahead of a less-traveled holiday season

Nebraska highways ranked 12th ahead of a less-traveled holiday season

As health officials advise to avoid large family gatherings this Thanksgiving, and gas prices remain on the lower side, many Americans might take to the highways for a road trip with the people in their COVID bubble. Though AAA travel projections show a major reduction in travel plans from last Thanksgiving, particularly among air passengers,...

By Adam Weinberg

Economic Forecasting Board projects higher state tax receipts

Economic Forecasting Board projects higher state tax receipts

The Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board met today and increased the forecast for the expected tax revenue the state will receive during the 2020-2021 fiscal year. While this was one of the regularly scheduled meetings, this meeting had a completely different mood and focus due to the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and recent legislative changes....

By Sarah Curry

Nebraska has spent half its CARES Act funds, but more transparency is needed

Nebraska has spent half its CARES Act funds, but more transparency is needed

Where did all the CARES Act money go in Nebraska? Federal taxpayers in Nebraska have a right to know the answer. The Platte Institute published a report calling for more transparency in mid-September, and less than a month later the state published its dashboard providing that added transparency. The state’s dashboard shows that $587 million...

By Sarah Curry

Local government spending dominates Nebraska’s state General Fund

Local government spending dominates Nebraska’s state General Fund

Your local property taxes go to your local community, and your state income and sales taxes pay for state services, right? Sometimes. But did you know that a significant amount of your state taxes are also redistributed back to local governments across Nebraska? According to a new report from the Nebraska Department of Revenue, in...

By Sarah Curry

What is the fastest growing area in Nebraska’s state budget?

What is the fastest growing area in Nebraska’s state budget?

Nebraska’s state budget is growing, but what area of spending is the largest and growing the fastest? Contrary to what many believe, K-12 education is not the largest expenditure in state government. Health and human services and higher education are larger state spending areas, with the state Department of Education coming in behind these two categories....

By Sarah Curry

Where is the Money Going? Tracking COVID-19 Relief Funds in Nebraska

Where is the Money Going? Tracking COVID-19 Relief Funds in Nebraska

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit our nation, Congress reacted by enacting a historic $2 trillion spending plan to keep our nation from falling into financial ruin. In total, there have been four pieces[1] of federal legislation enacted with the intent to help individuals and states combat the health and economic crisis that occurred, of which...

By Sarah Curry