Budget shortfall to greet state senators

Hughes' Views

have been getting ready for the upcoming session these last few weeks. The budget will be a big issue this year, as the current forecasting board has us about $200 million short.

The next forecasting board meets at the end of February. That will be a better indicator of where the state needs to be. 

Unfortunately, this will be a 60-day short session. If we wait until March to make any adjustments, it will be tough for any agency to make the necessary adjustments before the end of our fiscal year on June 30. 

The good news is we still have a little over $350 million in “rainy day” funds. But I am reluctant to use very much more of that fund to balance our budget.

A topic of debate recently has been Legislative Resolution 6. LR 6 will again be before the legislature in this upcoming session. 

The resolution calls for Congress to hold a Convention of the States to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution. 

The amendments would impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office for its officials and for members of Congress.

Last month in McCook there was meeting on LR 6.  I was unable to attend, however, I am fully aware of the Legislative Resolution and I have looked at the LR in depth. 

In its current form I do not support LR 6. I am not comfortable calling for a Convention of the States as presented in LR 6. With a multi-issue resolution like this, I am worried there would be a runaway Convention of States. 

If a Convention of States cannot be controlled to a single topic, I am fearful other freedoms we currently enjoy could be in jeopardy. I am not comfortable with giving that much power to the delegates.

Also, there needs to be a way to hold the delegates accountable to make sure they vote the way the people of Nebraska would want them to.  

I have received letters and emails from many of you. Some support my position and others are urging me to support LR 6 in its current form.

I will support a Convention of States for a balanced budget amendment, with provisions to allow for additional spending in times of war and other national emergencies. 

We in Nebraska must run a balanced budget and I see no reason why the federal government should not do the same.

On the issue of term limits, I have never supported them. We already have term limits—they’re called elections.

Our form of government is a representative republic not a democracy. Therefore, the citizenry is required to play an active role on our government. If they do not, our system will not work as well as envisioned by our Founding Fathers.

As 2017 comes to a close, I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 

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