Government Spending

What should Nebraska do with more federal money?

What should Nebraska do with more federal money?

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an unprecedented amount of money sent to the state of Nebraska from the federal government. First, the CARES Act sent $1.25 billion directly to the state. However, when you include all the money sent to the various agencies and operations, the total was closer to $10 billion. Then, the...

By Sarah Curry

Testimony for LR178: Nebraska’s Use of American Rescue Plan Act Funds

Testimony for LR178: Nebraska’s Use of American Rescue Plan Act Funds

Members of the Appropriations Committee, my name is Sarah Curry, and I am the policy director at the Platte Institute. I appreciate the invitation to provide comments on LR178. Overall, the Platte Institute’s philosophy for the use of these funds is not to grow government in a way that will burden future taxpayers or put...

By Sarah Curry

Nebraska’s unemployment trust fund is now above pre-pandemic levels

Nebraska’s unemployment trust fund is now above pre-pandemic levels

During the height of the pandemic and directed health measures that caused businesses across the state to close, Nebraska saw its unemployment rate jump to 8.3%, or 86,300 people actively looking for work. This was the most people filing unemployment claims ever in the history of recording unemployment data. Nebraska paid a total of $1,423,551,932...

By Sarah Curry

Nebraskanomics: A GAAP in Nebraska Budgeting Practices

Nebraskanomics: A GAAP in Nebraska Budgeting Practices

William Glasgall and former New York Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch of the Volcker Alliance join Jim to discuss why a major influx of federal money might be mismanaged under current local government financial practices. A transcript of the discussion can be found below. You can watch the video on YouTube or listen to the podcast episode...

Nebraska should invest in its accounting infrastructure

Nebraska should invest in its accounting infrastructure

The news of the latest federal infrastructure bill, which follows the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan Act, has some people worried about the amount of debt and spending our country is taking on. And while that is happening far away from Nebraska, many of us don’t think about the impact these spending plans...

By Sarah Curry

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