Harms pushes conservative budget approach

State Senator John Harms is pushing for a conservative approach to the state's budget even though the state is projected to receive a windfall of money. The state forecasting board is projecting an increase in funds of $53 million.

Harms says the Appropriations Committee he is a member of voted to put the money in the state's reserves and rejected an effort to apply at least a portion of the extra funds to tax relief. Harms says there is still too much uncertainty about the impact of the drought on the ag economy.

The Committee's budget calls for a 5.2% increase in spending, slightly more than Governor Dave Heineman. Appropriations Committee Chairman Heath Mello said the budget prioritized education, including a slightly lower increase for the University of Nebraska than Gov. Dave Heineman proposed, but did keep in place a two-year tuition freeze. There is also slightly more funding for K-12 education.

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