News Release: Platte Institute makes recommendations for state and local relief spending
NEWS RELEASE from the Platte Institute
March 24, 2021
Contact: Adam Weinberg
Platte Institute recommendations for Nebraska’s federal relief spending
Priorities including boosting rainy day fund, broadband, and financial oversight
OMAHA, NE – The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocates more than $2.3 billion to the state and local governments in Nebraska. Of that amount, the state will receive $1.1 billion, counties will get $375.2 million, and municipalities will be given $292 million. A spreadsheet with federal data on the distribution of funds can be found here.
The Platte Institute is releasing recommendations for how state and local policymakers should set spending priorities with this windfall, which comes at the same time the state finds itself nearly $500 million ahead of previous revenue projections.
The full recommendations are available here on PlatteInstitute.org and in an attached PDF. Audio commentary with Platte Institute CEO Jim Vokal and Policy Director Sarah Curry is now available on the latest Platte Institute podcast and may be republished or rebroadcast with attribution.
“Receiving such a large influx of federal money while also having a revenue surplus is a unique opportunity for Nebraska, but it’s important to provide oversight and spend the money wisely, without committing taxpayers to future expenses when this one-time aid expires,” Jim Vokal said.
“The Platte Institute’s recommendations prioritize strengthening Nebraska’s finances for years to come by boosting the state’s rainy day fund, making local governments whole, and paying down debt or providing one-time local tax relief, which is permissible under the new relief plan,” Vokal said.
At the state level, the Platte Institute’s recommends using ARPA funds to:
- Bring Nebraska’s Cash Reserve Fund to $800 million or 16% of state revenue
- Invest in infrastructure such as broadband
- Provide one-time funding for Nebraska’s State Auditor’s office for additional spending oversight
- Support pandemic-related public health expenses
- If funds are available, business grants should be targeted to leisure and hospitality businesses
At the local level, the Platte Institute recommends:
- Backfilling revenues for localities that have lost tax receipts as a result of the pandemic
- Issuing one-time credits for locally levied taxes such as real or personal property tax, or occupation tax
- Investing in local accounting infrastructure and collaboration with the state auditor
- Paying down bonded indebtedness, which lowers property taxes
- Investing in infrastructure such as broadband, utilities, ambulance, and police & fire
For more information, please contact Adam Weinberg at (402) 500-0209 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Platte Institute advances policies that remove barriers to growth and opportunity in Nebraska. More media resources are available at PlatteInstitute.org/Media.