Government Spending

Platte Institute discusses transparency for federal funds on KGFW’s Talk of the Town

Platte Institute discusses transparency for federal funds on KGFW’s Talk of the Town

Platte Institute CEO Jim Vokal joined Ryan Boyd with KFGW Kearney’s “Talk of the Town” to discuss the Platte Institute’s call for creating an inventory of the $10.8 billion in federal funds allocated to Nebraska for COVID-19 relief and the road to recovery in the current recession.

Letter to governor calls for a federal funds inventory

Letter to governor calls for a federal funds inventory

Dear Governor Ricketts, We write this letter on behalf of the Platte Institute to ask your administration to set an important precedent for financial transparency in state and local government, by creating a publicly-accessible inventory of federal funds being spent in Nebraska. As you have noted, COVID-19 emergency federal relief funds allocated to Nebraska total...

By Jim Vokal, Nicole Fox

The Economic Impact of COVID-19 on the Nebraska Economy: Third Cut

The Economic Impact of COVID-19 on the Nebraska Economy: Third Cut

Dear Nebraskans, Our state and nation have been actively fighting COVID-19 since mid-March. We are getting a handle on the public health aspect of the crisis, yet the economic impact is still being realized as businesses begin to reopen. As more data becomes available, we can start to measure the impact this crisis is having...

By Ernie Goss, Scott Strain

Legislature Expected to Return to Session July 20

Legislature Expected to Return to Session July 20

The Nebraska Legislature is currently scheduled for a summertime return to its 2020 session, which was suspended due to the COVID-19 emergency. Nebraska Legislature Speaker Jim Scheer says the plan is for senators to return for the final 17 days of legislative business between July 20 and August 13. Prior to the crisis, lawmakers had completed hearings...

By Adam Weinberg

Utah Group Supports Rep. Don Bacon’s FLEX Act

Utah Group Supports Rep. Don Bacon’s FLEX Act

The Platte Institute along with almost 30 other free market think tanks are asking Congress to modify the CARES Act to allow for more flexibility in already distributed funds instead of spending more money.  Now, Platte’s partner organization in Utah has called on their delegation to support Representative Bacon’s FLEX Act. This press release partners...

By Sarah Curry

April Revenue Numbers Show Pandemic Impact

April Revenue Numbers Show Pandemic Impact

A delayed tax filing deadline and closed businesses in Nebraska has resulted in April state tax revenues that are $292 million below previous monthly projections. While this is a very noticeable impact from the pandemic, the data released by the Nebraska Department of Revenue this morning tells us a bit more about our tax code...

By Sarah Curry

Federal Relief Aid Totals More Than 100% of Nebraska State Budget

Federal Relief Aid Totals More Than 100% of Nebraska State Budget

We don’t know exactly how much money has been sent to Nebraska from the federal government for relief efforts related to the pandemic (how many people got the $1,200 payment?, how many children got the $500 payment?, where did all the PPP money go?, etc.).  What we DO know is that the federal government has sent...

By Sarah Curry

Webinar: Impact on Agriculture

Webinar: Impact on Agriculture

Click here to download slides from the program in PDF format. The program may also be viewed and shared on Facebook and YouTube.

Jim Vokal Speaks with White House Office on CARES Act

Jim Vokal Speaks with White House Office on CARES Act

Today, I had the privilege and opportunity to participate in a White House “Listening Session” with the Office of American Innovation. Along with five other state think tank leaders, I was asked to provide feedback to the White House on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis as well the needed recovery efforts. Specifically, I was...

By Jim Vokal

Flexibility for CARES Act gaining momentum in Congress

Flexibility for CARES Act gaining momentum in Congress

The CARES Act has received criticism since its enactment in late March, however, there is a growing consensus of lawmakers seeing that a change is needed to the original legislation. As written, the CARES Act only allows its $150 billion in aid to states and local governments to be used for new spending, not to...

By Sarah Curry

Platte Institute Coalition Letter Mentioned on C-SPAN

Platte Institute Coalition Letter Mentioned on C-SPAN

The Platte Institute and North Carolina-based John Locke Foundation are leading a coalition of states to encourage Congress to amend the CARES Act.  This would provide states and local governments more flexibility with the federal relief dollars. Kokai offered these comments during an April 25, 2020, appearance on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal.”

By Sarah Curry

Nebraska-Iowa Rivalry on Display in Federal Relief Proposals

Nebraska-Iowa Rivalry on Display in Federal Relief Proposals

Last week Nebraska’s Representative Don Bacon (R) filed legislation aimed at helping local governments utilize the funding already allocated to states under the previously enacted CARES Acts.  His bill, properly named the FLEX Act, gives states the flexibility they need (and many have asked for) to combat this crisis without spending more money.  This coincides with a coalition...

By Sarah Curry