City and state officials saw increases in revenue during pandemic

Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 7:01 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - After potentially going through the toughest part of the pandemic economically, state lawmakers say the state is in good shape.

State Sen. John Stinner said, “We really came through this, knock on wood, exceptionally well given what the scenarios were initially.”

Stinner said he was preparing to make budget cuts last year after the Fiscal Office found out they may not have 10% of their expected revenue.

Then, they saw it actually increased.

“They decided that the state of Nebraska was doing better than the projections,” Stinner said. “We did not have the cuts.”

It turned into a 14.6% increase, a nearly 25% change from what they projected.

Lawmakers said stimulus packages played a key role in financial help. This is true not just on a state level, but locally in Lincoln.

City of Lincoln Budget Officer Sherry Wolf-Drbal said, “Stimulus checks have no doubt helped with spending and rent and utility assistance that’s been available that did help people who lost jobs.”

Sales tax revenue makes up 38% of total city revenue. The city budget office was projecting a $5.9 million decrease in sales taxes.

As of Wednesday, the sales tax has increased by over 10%.

City officials said they were below their projections last May and June but above them the rest of the pandemic.

Wolf-Drbal said, “We were fortunate that city leaders and community businesses started working together right away and we had efforts like the economic recovery task force.”

Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird is also proposing not to raise the property tax levy in this year’s budget. It’ll be up for public comment at the city council meeting on Aug. 2. Council is expected to pass it on Aug. 23.

State Senator Anna Wishart of Lincoln said state lawmakers set aside nearly $2 billion to go toward property tax relief for all Nebraskans.

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