Nebraska lawmakers are starting to debate priority bills this week, with an eye on the upcoming budget discussion. There are projections the state could be facing a one billion dollar budget gap when updated numbers are released this spring. Senator Cap Dierks, of Ewing, says the budget gap is on everyone’s mind.
“It’s in the background all the time because everybody talks about the bill that has a fiscal note on it, they know it’s not going to happen,” Dierks says. “In fact, I had a couple of them and I knew they weren’t going anyplace.” Dierks says the legislators are getting indications of how serious the budget problem could be.
“I think those who are really into understanding it know it might be much worse than anyone thinks,” Dierks says. “That $350-million we took out last November, that might look like small change compared to what we have to do.”
Dierks says since they get the revenue reports so late in the session, a special session may be needed to focus on the budget. The next report from the state’s fiscal planners won’t come out until late April and by then, it’ll be too late for the legislature to act on anything based on that report.
The legislative session opened January 6th and is scheduled to conclude after 60 days.
Thanks to Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton