These words are engraved over the entrance to Nebraska’s state capitol. They have added meaning here in Nebraska, the only state in the nation with a Unicameral Legislature. Today, a new report from the OpenSky Policy Institute, “Looking for Clarity: An Overview of Nebraska Budget and Tax Policy” was released. This report is an easy-to-use tool to increase public understanding of, and yes, watchfulness over, the budget of the state of Nebraska.
The report includes clear and helpful information about the budget process, state spending, state revenue, tax expenditures, and our system overall. We here at Nebraska Appleseed could not be more pleased to see the release of this great resource to help us all better understand Nebraska’s budget. OpenSky Policy Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization providing information and analysis for Nebraska.
We support OpenSky’s balanced approach to this report. Public dollars must be accounted for and used wisely. At the same time, we must not be afraid to adequately fund solid investments in our future. Our budget is, as the report points out, a strategic plan for Nebraska, establishing our current and future priorities. And, as OpenSky notes, good management of these resources is not a given. It is something we all have to create together.
As we look towards the future, we at Nebraska Appleseed recognize there will be challenges to face. One concern we see from information in the report is that Nebraska has a recent history of structural deficits – when we are not collecting enough revenue to pay for these core functions of government. (See page 22 of the report for more information.)
However, we remain optimistic that with thoughtfulness, watchfulness, and good information from organizations like OpenSky, we can develop a state budget that remains reasonable and fair while creating security for our education, health care, infrastructure and other government systems for the people of Nebraska. We hope all of your will read and share “Looking for Clarity.”