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(Neb)-State Revenue Forecast Reduced

By: John Axtell Posted at: 10/28/2017 04:21 PM
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -  Nebraska lawmakers and Gov. Pete Ricketts will continue to face budget problems in next year's session, based on lower projections for state tax revenue released on Friday.
     The Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board revised its forecast downward by $217.2 million dollars... $100 million for the current fiscal year and $123 million for the next...essentially lowering the amount of money available for the 2018 legislative session by that amount..
     State officials caution that the numbers could change dramatically depending on the economy and if Congress and President Trump pass a major tax overhaul because Nebraska income tax is closely linked to the federal system.
   State Senator John Stinner of Gering, the Appropriations Committee chairman, says lawmakers will once again have to reset priorities and  Gov Ricketts agrees, pointing to this past session when senators had to revise the current year budget twice before passing a new biennial budget.

       Ricketts says they successfully held down spending and cut the rate of growth in government from 6.5% to less than 1%, so the Forecasting  Board's latest reduced estimates mean taking more steps to further slow state spending and demonstrate fiscal restraint.”

    Ricketts says when revenues fall, Nebraskans expect state government to exhibit the same fiscal restraint as they do in their own households, so he's directed his Budget Administrator to work with state agencies to continue to implement the budget restraint they’ve been practicing as well as to prepare for budget reductions.

    The Governor’s directive includes holding back 1% of the funds for state agencies, boards, and commissions in both the 3rd and 4th quarters of the fiscal year; continuing his sharp limits on new hires, out-of-state travel, and discretionary grants; and having agencies prepare for budget cuts based on the revised forecast


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