Higher-than-projected revenues for the just-concluded fiscal year have automatically gone into the Nebraska state government’s cash reserve fund, raising it to $508 million. It’s encouraging to see the increase, given how the fund had dwindled in recent years.
At the start of this year, it stood at only $300 million. That’s far below the $800 million that fiscal experts recommend, relative to the size of the overall budget. The Legislature’s Planning Committee issued a report in January warning lawmakers that replenishing the fund over the next four years “is absolutely essential if the state is to meet its obligations.”
Maintaining the fund at an appropriate level is challenging for state leaders, given the competing demands on the budget. But as they navigate that task, they should be attentive to maintaining a healthy reserve fund. It’s a key obligation for responsible budget management.