(Neb)-Appropriations Committee Sends Biennial Budget To Floor
LINCOLN - The budget-writing Appropriations Committee has sent its just-over $4.6-billion dollar 2-year spending proposal to the full Legislature for debate next week.
It includes funding a start on a 384-bed addition to the Lincoln Correctional Center, part of a strategy to reduce prison overcrowding.
The $49 million cost for that prison construction will come out of the state's cash reserve - the so-called "rainy day fund," which has dropped from $730 million three years ago to an estimated $333 million this year, as the agricultural economy softened and state tax collections slowed.
Appropriations Chairman Senator John Stinner of Gering wants to begin rebuilding that reserve, so the committee's plan recommends taking half the money Gov. Pete Ricketts wanted to use to increase property tax relief and putting it instead into the cash reserve.
Stinner said it's necessary to avoid painful budget cuts in the next recession, but Ricketts attacked the proposal as preferring to fund future spending instead of providing property tax relief.
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