Monday, July 21, 2008

Don't Settle for Small Potatoes

What should the state do with a projected $100 million budget surplus?

The governor says give it back to the people. That used to be my reaction. And politicians love it. Hey, we're giving tax dollars back to you, the suffering taxpayer.

The problem is that the rebates are relatively minuscule. And they are sporadic at best. If there happen to be some unexpected surplus dollars lying around, they are tossed to the people. But you will be gouged again when times get tough and the revenue goes down.

Nebraskans should not settle for this game any more. Put the surplus in the rainy day fund to cushion the blow from future drop-offs in revenue. Then get to work on serious budget reform, the top-to-bottom audit that is overdue in Nebraska.

Don't be bought off with occasional goodies. There won't be meaningful and sustained tax relief in Nebraska until the state does what other states have done -- overhaul the entire budget.

1 comment:

OmaSteak said...

I'd like to see the "surplus" used for severance benefits program for excess state employees. How do you determine which state employees are excess? Outside of any agency directly responsible for public safety and roads, terminate 1/3 of existing agency staff immediately. After one year, terminate another 1/3. Despite screams that such reductions are not possible, you'll find all the subject agencies are either not necessary any longer or they will have become much more efficient to justify their continued existence. Actually we don't need an "audit" of state government in this state, we need to start over with a blank slate and strict zero-based budgeting combined with only consumption based taxation.