Appropriations Budget Proposes Boosting Rainy Day Fund


(Pixabay via Pexels)
By 
Scott Stewart
The Daily Record

The Appropriations Committee of the Nebraska Legislature released its proposed budget last week for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 fiscal years.

Among the budget’s highlights, according to the committee:

• A $351 million increase to the cash reserve fund, bringing its balance from $412 million to $763 million. Automatic transfer under current law would account for $301 million of the increase. The committee proposes a $100 million transfer from the general fund with $50 million of reserve funds as an incentive to attract the U.S. Space Command project currently slated to go to Alabama.

• A 2% increase to Department of Health and Human Services and juvenile services providers, which represent a $83.5 million increase over two years — the single largest increase in the budget.

• Schools would receive “a very small increase in TEEOSA funding” — a reference to the public school funding formula — while property tax payers would receive a $63 million increase over two years to tax credits, providing for property tax relief. That investment is the second largest increase in the budget, although it’s not a general fund expenditure.

• A total of $32 million would go to career scholarships ($17 million) and the Business Innovation Act ($15 million) programs.

•  Up to $211 million would be available for legislation pending before the Legislature. The budget reflects a $165 million increase.

The state’s Forecast Board has estimated available funds to be about $349.5 million, of which the Appropriations Committee earmarked $185 million, mostly for transfers to cash reserves and property tax credits and to stabilize the Health Care Cash Fund. The Forecast Board meets April 29 to review its estimates, which will also drive the state budget.

The full 284-page budget document is available at nebraskalegislature.gov.

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