Governor Ricketts’ plan to fix the budget

Posted By: Rachel Hofstra

Nebraska is staring down a major budget deficit. So Governor Ricketts released his plan to solve the projected 900 million dollar shortfall.

"The key thing about this budget is that we get it back in balance, that we establish that 3% reserve that we need to have, and that we protect the cash reserve at a 500 million dollar level," said Governor Pete Ricketts.

He’s suggesting a 4% budget cut and reductions to many agencies. Ricketts plans to use 93 million dollars from the rainy day fund.

"This is why we have a rainy day fund, to really help us in years where we have revenues falling below forecast," said Ricketts.

He’s also seeking additional revenue from Amazon. The online company will be charging state sales tax when you make a purchase. Prior to this, the government expected you to claim it on your taxes

Lawmakers are preparing the departments for these potential cuts. Usually, agencies get 25% of their appropriations each quarter. To slow spending, Ricketts has been giving them 24 or 23 percent instead.

"What we have done is give the legislature the freedom to act. So by slowing down that money we have allowed the legislature to make decisions, based upon my recommendations, to actually cut the budget or not," said Ricketts.

If the legislature decides not to cut the budget those agencies would receive the withheld money in the 4th quarter. The governor is not allowed to make actual budget cuts; he can only manage the money, so this is his recommendation to the legislature.

Governor Ricketts wants the appropriations committee to make this a priority and bring to the legislature by the first week in February