Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts on Wednesday ramped up his push to use the state’s growing cash surplus to fund income tax cuts, a new state prison, and a $500 million dollar canal to claim water from the South Platte River in Colorado.
Ricketts told a Capitol news conference that between regular state revenue and federal stimulus and infrastructure measures, the state is expected to collect more than enough revenue to pay for it all.
The state forecasting advisory board released its latest revenue update on Monday, raising its October projection by $775-million dollars for this fiscal year and the one starting July 1st.
Ricketts has endorsed a measure lowering Nebraska’s top rate for individual and corporate income taxes, a new state prison proposal to replace the nearly 163-year old State Penitentiary and the South Platte canal.
The governor, who leaves office under term limits next January, hasn’t convinced Rebecca Firestone, executive director of the OpenSky Policy Institute – Nebraska’s first free-market, non-partisan, non-profit research and educational think tank.
Firestone warns that the state has benefited from some $24-billions dollars in federal aid to individuals and governments during the pandemic, creating a “fiscal bubble” that will eventually burst and require major cuts or tax increases to continue many programs.