Nebraska State Budget Brimming with ‘$ 500 Million Surplus’ Despite COVID-19 Pandemic | Nebraska
(The Center Square) – Tax revenues in Nebraska are rising, not falling, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
At one point, Nebraska was projecting a 10% shortfall, Sarah Curry, director of policy at The Platte Institute, said in The Center Square.
“Now compared to last year at this time, we have a surplus of $ 500 million,” she said. “It’s definitely not what we expected. Nebraska is actually quite good from an income standpoint. “
Other states are experiencing similar trends, Curry said.
Last March, the Nebraska legislature passed an emergency bill to pay for the costs associated with the pandemic, Curry said.
“Then when the federal CARES law was passed, we were able to reimburse ourselves for these expenses,” she said. “It really helped our budget a lot.”
Federal stimulus cash payments and other programs have also helped, she said.
“They meant the state didn’t have to make direct payments to save businesses, which the Paycheck Protection Program loans did,” she said. “The state didn’t have to do as much because individual citizens also received their checks.”
The federal government also paid for the cost of federal tests and vaccines against COVID-19.
“States did not have to spend a lot of revenue to deal with the pandemic like they would during a natural disaster like a hurricane,” said Curry.
The fact that Nebraska was in good financial health before the pandemic helped Curry.
“Nebraska at the state level is very, very financially solvent,” Curry said. “We generally don’t have to borrow from the federal government for the unemployment trust fund. We keep enough. We keep enough of it in our cash reserve fund for “rainy days” so that in the event of a fall we can take advantage of it. “
As a result of this year’s surplus, the Legislative Assembly Appropriations Committee has committed to putting an additional $ 100 million into the fund, which will bring it to about 14.2% of the annual revenue of the State, Curry said.
“It’s a nice amount of money just sitting there in case we have a shrinking economy,” Curry said.