Unicameral’s Bills, Bills, Bills Leave Nebraska in the Red and THIS Nebraskan Seeing Red

“‘Next January … you are going to be begging and pleading and scratching and clawing for every dime,’ Omaha Sen. Burke Harr warned his colleagues during floor debate . . . ‘We don’t have the money.’”


“’Sadly, the . . . senators who supported these proposals have no plan for our financial future except to keep our fingers crossed and hope the fragile economic recovery becomes so robust in the next eight months that we can fill this hole without deeper cuts’ . . . said Lincoln Senator Danielle Conrad, a member of the Appropriations Committee. ‘Keeping our fingers crossed is not a fiscally responsible plan for our financial future.’”


These two quotes appeared in an article published Sunday, April 15, in the Lincoln Journal-Star. At the end of a legislative session in which there seemed to be no end to their largesse, our state senators have finally come to the realization that there is SOMETHING out there that state government can’t afford. Can you guess what it is?

It’s . . .


Wait for it . . .


I bet the suspense is killing you . . .


It’s . . .


Tax Relief


Let that sink in for a minute. I’ll just doodle while I wait.

Okay. Now, that you’ve picked yourself up off the floor, I have only one question for you.


William F. Buckley once said, “I’d rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University.” After the colossal stupidity I’ve witnessed from the members of the Unicameral this legislative session, I honestly think 49 Nebraskans chosen in a similarly random manner would do a better job than the bunch that’s currently serving in our state senate.

There are so many rationalizations, misrepresentations, mischaracterizations, and out and out falsehoods in the article in question, it’s difficult to know where to begin and how to fit them all into one short response. Here’s my best shot:

  • First and foremost, someone should break the news to our illustrious state senators that tax revenues only become the property of the government once they are paid into the state treasury. Until then, the money belongs to the taxpayer. Therefore, cutting taxes COSTS the government nothing. The government is simply allowing taxpayers to retain a larger portion of THEIR OWN MONEY.
  • Why are we hearing, for the first time, that there’s going to be an estimated $619 million shortfall in the next two-year budget cycle at the end of a legislative session in which there seemed to be no limit on how much senators thought they could spend? Is there no connection in their minds between the bills they vote to pass into law and the money that must be spent to pay for them?
  • Senators Conrad and Haar, where was your concern for budget shortfalls and affordability when you voted to spend almost $3 million dollars a year in state and federal funds to create a whole new welfare program to provide prenatal care to women who couldn’t be bothered to comply with the rules and were, therefore, ineligible for Medicaid and/or women who are in this country illegally? Oh, I forgot. You are only concerned about the cost of legislative measures that you OPPOSE, to wit your arguments in opposition to the voter ID bill (i.e., that it would cost too much to provide state identification cards to persons who lacked identification). Funny, if you look at the fiscal statement that accompanied the voter ID bill, the Secretary of State termed any cost involved as “negligible.” Huh. . . . Reminds me of an old proverb . . . How did it go? . . . Oh, yeah.

Ye blind guides, which strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! ~ Matthew 23:24

  • Apparently, in spite of the economic downturn, the Unicameral’s Revenue Committee has been projecting General Fund growth at the rate of 7 percent, “THE BULK OF WHICH IS ALREADY CALLED FOR IN STATE LAW.” If that is true, why the spending frenzy unleashed this legislative session? General fund revenues only pay for about half the state’s budget now 1.  The rest is covered by money shipped in from D.C. on the federal gravy train. Even so, you guys down at the Unicameral regularly spend so much money, you can’t even balance your half of the state’s budget. What’s WRONG with you people?
  • Now, for a final insult to our collective intelligence, here comes the Governor repeating what has become his mantra of late. Speaking of the budget shortfall for 2010 that required a special process to address, Governor Dave says, “’Once we all sat down and started to work on the budget, it ended up around 3 to 3.5 percent spending growth. There was no … shortfall. We balanced our budget without raising taxes.’” Well then, Governor Dave, why was it necessary to accept almost $2 billion in bailout — I mean, stimulus funds to prop up everything from education to Medicaid to infrastructure spending to law enforcement if things were so hunky dory here in the Great State of Nebraska?

Folks, they say we get the government we deserve 2.  If so, we must have been very, very bad to merit what passes for governance in the halls of the Unicameral and in the Governor’s Office of this formerly great state.  Let’s get a clue, shall we?  No more voting by the alphabet.  If this legislative session has made anything crystal clear, it’s that regardless of the letter that follows a candidate’s name, once they’re elected, they’re all just playin’ ball, lost in what they delude themselves is “political” reality while those of us livin’ in the real world are left to pay their stinkin’ bills and pick up the pieces.  Like the girls say,

You triflin’, good for nothin’ type of brother.  Silly me!  Why haven’t I found another? . . .

You and me are through!


Footnotes, References & Citations
  1. An article published on this site in September of 2010 linked readers to two charts which detail this information.  At that time, federal money propped up around 40 percent of Nebraska’s budget, excluding funds for the University of Nebraska.  Obviously, adding those in would have caused the federally supported portion of the budget to rise significantly, approaching 50 percent even two years ago.  The $2 billion in ARRA (Simulus) funds Nebraska accepted in 2009/10 and is spending even now will surely have boosted the federally supported portion of the budget well over the halfway mark
  2. The Intercollegiate Studies Institute conducts ongoing research concerning the state of civics knowledge in America.  In 2008, it highlighted a subset of its study results: The grade received by 165 elected officials who took the test.  Overall the elected officials flunked the exam, scoring 5 percentage points lower than the national average.  “The fact that our elected representatives know even less about America’s history and institutions than the typical citizen (who doesn’t know much either) is troubling indeed, but perhaps helps explain the lack of constitutional discipline often displayed by our political class at every level of our system.”

About Grassroots in Nebraska (GiN)
Our mission is to actively promote a return to Constitutional government according to its original meaning, as the most effective avenue to encourage public policy that promotes personal responsibility, protects individual liberty and property, and guarantees limited government, sovereignty, and free markets. Grassroots in Nebraska

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