Gov. Pete Ricketts has ordered state agencies to carefully watch spending after the latest estimate of state revenue is revised downward.
The Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board has revised its state revenue projections downward. The board now projects the state will bring in $100 million less in state revenue this fiscal year and $123 million less in the next fiscal year.
Ricketts softens the news by noting the board had projected better than 7% revenue growth.
“Even where they are right now, they’re still projecting over a 5% growth in revenues,” Ricketts tells reporters during a news conference. “So, it’s a healthy growth in revenues. It’s just not as much as they forecast last April.”
Ricketts says his administration is reviewing the new numbers and will look at modifications to the state budget approved by the legislature last session to align the budget with the new revenue forecast.
Ricketts says state revenue won’t turn until farm income turns around.
“You’re talking about a large part of our state’s economy that has seen a dramatic reduction in the amount of income that’s coming in and that is to me the single largest impact that we’re having,” according to Ricketts. “Now, are there other factors involved in that, too. There potentially could be, but I think that’s the single largest one.”
The governor has sent a new directive to state agencies, boards, and commissions ordering continued budget restraint. The governor’s State Budget Office will work closely with all state agencies to ensure the directive is carried out.
The directive outlines a few specific actions:
· Reduced Allotments: Quarterly allotments of current appropriations to state agencies, boards, and commissions will be reduced by one percent in the third and fourth quarters.
· Budget Reductions: Agencies have been advised to prepare for the possibility that the Legislature could cut their budgets in the next legislative session, based on the revised forecast.
· Spending Restraint: Continuance of his previously ordered hiring freeze, travel ban, limited equipment purchases, and reductions in discretionary grants in aid.
A copy of the Governor’s memo to state agencies can be found by clicking here.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]