Nebraska State and Local Government Finance Research
In an era of resource scarcity and greater scrutiny of public finance, the Nebraska State & Local Government Finance Lab focuses on municipal, county and special-purpose district revenues, expenditures, debt and reserves. The intent of this research is not to advocate policy or to even study policy decisions, rather to provide a context for budgeting and policy discussions.
Examining Nebraska’s Municipal Finance Picture: Trends in Revenues, Expenditures, Debt and Reserves From 2001-2015
- There are currently 528 municipalities in Nebraska and they range in population from one resident in Monowi to over 446,000 in Omaha;
- When you consider all available resources in 2015, (this includes intergovernmental aid, revenue carry-overs, fees and charges, taxes, etc), only 11 percent was from property taxes;
- Many municipalities operate enterprises such as water and/or sewer utilities or electric utilities that are funded through charges;
- Nebraska municipalities had healthy carry-overs (the difference between commitments and available resources) in 2015, equal to 47 percent of total resources available.
Examining Nebraska’s County Finance Picture: Trends in Revenues, Expenditures, Debt and Reserves from 2001-2015
- Nebraska’s counties exhibit very different fiscal patterns depending on their metropolitan status;
- In 2015, 42 percent of county available resources (this includes intergovernmental aid, revenue carry-overs, fees and charges, taxes, etc) came from the property tax;
- Counties’ reliance on debt has increased particularly after the Great Recession, however, the pattern varies across metro areas.
Examining Nebraska’s Special Purpose Districts (SPDs) Finance Picture: Trends in Revenues, Expenditures, Debt and Reserves from 2001-2015
- There are currently 1,542 special purpose districts (SPDs) in Nebraska and they vary widely by type: agricultural society, airport authority, historical society, fire district, cemetery district, township, etc.;
- Given the focus on property taxes in Nebraska, 39 percent of SPD own-source revenues come from the property tax. The remaining portion of SPD own-source revenues come largely from charges, fees and other incomes (e.g., rental and investment);
- SPDs’ reliance on debt has increased over time. However, the pattern varies across metro areas.
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