State Forecasting Board Boosts Estimates $140-M

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – The Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board has raised the state’s revenue forecast for the current fiscal year by about $115-million dollars and another $25-million next year for a combined bump of $140-million dollars.

The forecasting board members warned, though, that the outlook could change quickly given the huge stock market selloff over the past week amid growing fears about a coronavirus pandemic.

Governor Pete Ricketts quickly issued a statement saying “Nebraska’s economy continues to grow, and the forecasting board’s action reflects ongoing optimism for the future,” so he sees no reason for the Legislature not to move forward on property tax relief.

Ricketts has proposed over $500-million dollars of property tax relief this season and used the updated revenue forecast to quote Nebraska native Dan Whitney, better known as Larry the Cable Guy, and say ‘let’s git-r-done!’”

Renee Fry, executive director of the OpenSky Policy Institute think tank, isn’t as optimistic as the governor and urges caution in racing to spend the expected extra cash.

Fry wants to see the windfall used to replenish the state’s cash reserve, as called for by state law, seeing it as “a good thing, particularly if there is economic fallout from a potential coronavirus pandemic and uncertainty over new trade agreements and tax incentives.

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