The Nebraska Legislature has rightly resisted recent suggestions to move the state’s community colleges away from local property tax funding and more toward state tax dollars. It is that need for local funding that helps community colleges stay nimble in responding to regional educational and job-training needs. Senators should examine with caution any suggestions that risk making the colleges more beholden to state government than to the needs of local students and employers.
For a change of pace, here’s some good government finance news. Barron’s, the financial weekly, ranks Nebraska No. 1, Iowa No. 2 and South Dakota No. 3 among the states in managing debt and unfunded pension liability. “Nebraska has virtually no tax-supported debt and the country’s lowest unfunded pension obligation. It is notable for having a ‘cash-balance plan,’ a cross between a traditional pension and a 401(k) plan that has been adopted by companies including IBM,” the magazine said. Once again, the Midlands’ pay-as-you-go ethic pays off.