Department of Administrative Services State Budget Division
The primary objective of the Department of Administrative Services State Budget Division is to develop, support, and execute a state budget that emphasizes accomplishment of specific goals and objectives, measures performance, ascertains accountability and makes resource allocations based upon the most effective and efficient use of public resources.
Article IV of the Constitution of Nebraska provides for the Governor to present..."a complete itemized budget and a budget bill"...to the Legislature. It further provides that..."said budget bill shall be prepared with such expert assistance and under such regulations as may be required by the Governor."
The Department of Administrative Services State Budget Division provides the expert assistance and develops the regulations as provided for in the Constitution of Nebraska to aid the Governor in the development of the state budget and a budget bill for consideration by the Nebraska Legislature.
The division also assists individual state agencies in the preparation and submission of budget requests and the administration of the approved budget following passage of legislative appropriations.
The State Budget Division has organized its responsibilities, duties, and specific work activities into eight functional areas:
- General Government
- Public Finance
- Economic Development and Regulatory
- Law Enforcement and Public Safety
- Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources
- Health and Human Services
- Education and Cultural Development
The State Budget Division is led by State Budget Administrator and Deputy State Budget Administrator. The Deputy and seven other professional staff are assigned budget development, management, and support responsibilities for all of the various State agencies, boards, and commissions, along with responsibilities to identify, analyze, and manage significant public policy, finance, and management issues. Administrative support is provided by a Business Manager.
The Budget Process
The State of Nebraska utilizes a biennial budget for revenues, appropriations, and expenditures. The biennial budget is split into two Fiscal Years. The first fiscal year of a biennium begins on July 1st of odd-numbered years. All State agencies, including the State College and University Systems, must submit their budget request for the biennium beginning the following July 1st no later than September 15th of the year before the biennium. For example, agencies submitted their budget requests no later than September 15, 2014 for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017. These requests show estimated funding requirements by agency and program. With the assistance of the Department of Administrative Services State Budget Division the Governor reviews the agency requests, establishes priorities, and presents the recommendations to the Legislature in one or more pieces of legislation covering the biennium. The Legislature's Appropriations Committee holds public hearings on the Governor's proposed budget and makes recommendations to the full Legislature relative to appropriations that should be made to the various agencies and programs for budgeted fund types. The Legislature adopts the budget through appropriations bills and then forward the legislation to the Governor. The Governor can do one of the following on each of the bills:
- Approve the appropriation bill in its entirety
- Veto the bill in its entirety
- Line item reduce, or veto, specific items of appropriation
- Allow the bill to become law without the Governor's signature.
Any vetoed bill or line item veto can be overridden by three-fifths majority of the Legislature.
The approved appropriations set spending limits, by Fund Type, for the different budget Programs within each Agency. Thus, the legal level of control is fund type within program within agency.
The process can be repeated each annual session of the Legislature in a more limited fashion when an Agency has determined that the current appropriation is insufficient to finance an unexpected situation or need. These are referred to as deficit appropriations.
RevenuesAccounts for funds receipted by an Agency. Examples include: the various tax programs established in state statute; statutorily authorized fees assessed by agencies for permitting, regulatory activities, and professional licensure; private gifts and grants; and federal funds. Most tax programs are administered by the Department of Revenue. The great majority of funds received from the federal government are recorded through the Department of Administrative Services and then subsequently expended by other agencies. Revenues also include inter-fund transfers (i.e. Transfers In and Transfers Out) between the various funds in the state treasury.
AppropriationsThe legal authority granted by an act of the Legislature for an Agency to expend money from the state treasury during a Fiscal Year. Typically, this is done by an appropriations bill enacted by the Legislature within which up to a specific amount is authorized to be expended in a budget Program from one or more of the Fund Types. This is known as New Appropriations. New Appropriations are the category of appropriations that are the subject of consideration by the Governor, the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee, and the full Legislature when state agencies submit their biennial budget and annual deficit budget requests. In the case of federal funds, and occasionally with cash and revolving funds, the Legislature indicates that the Program is not limited to the appropriation amount shown and authorizes an administrative increase in appropriation upon presentation of satisfactory evidence of need to the Department of Administrative Services State Budget Division, which has the responsibility for administering the approved state budget. The Legislature also occasionally authorizes the State Budget Division to administratively transfer appropriation authority for a fund type among programs in an agency or between agencies to allow greater administrative flexibility. This administrative authority also applies in many cases when a private gift or grant is received into an agency cash fund that was not anticipated when New Appropriations were established. Finally, the Legislature also authorizes in some instances the “reappropriation” of the unexpended balance of appropriation at the end of a Fiscal Year into the next fiscal year.
ExpendituresA disbursement recorded in a budget Program, for which the expending Agency was given Appropriation authority by the Legislature, drawing money from a fund in the state treasury. Expenditures are for such things as employee salaries and benefits, agency operating expenses for purchase of goods, services and contracts, travel expenses, capital equipment and hardware expenses, and government aid.
The time period that the State of Nebraska uses for budgetary reporting purposes. The State’s fiscal year begins on July 1st and continues through June 30th of the following calendar year. A fiscal year can be referenced in several ways. For instance, the fiscal year of July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015 is inter-changeably referred to as FY 2014-2015, FY2014-15, FY2015, or just by FY15.
Level of Detail
The State utilizes six fund types that define the general nature of the revenue, appropriation, and expenditure activity being conducted and presented on this site. They include the General Fund, Cash Funds, Construction Funds, Federal Funds, Revolving Funds, and Trust Funds. They are described in more detail as follows:
- General Fund
- The General Fund is the primary operating fund of the State. It is used to account for the receipt, appropriation, and expenditure of general tax dollars, primarily sales and use taxes and personal and corporate income taxes, and other revenue sources not statutorily required to be accounted for in another fund type. For purposes of this site, General Fund inter-fund transfer activity includes the Cash Reserve Fund.
- Cash Funds
- Used to account for revenues and expenditures that are directly related to specific activities with sources outside of state government (excluding federal grants), such as highway revenues (gas tax and sales tax on motor vehicles), permit fees, regulatory and professional licensure fees, as well as private gifts and grants and University and State College tuition and fees. State statute establishes specific uses for these funds and do not permit the use of the funds for other purposes. The use of a Cash Fund is typically directly tied to the individuals or entities paying the fee or charge.
- Construction Funds
- Used to account for the financial activities related to the acquisition or construction of major capital facilities.
- Federal Funds
- Used to account for the financial activities related to the receipt and expenditure of funds received from the federal government as a result of grants, contracts, or federal matching funds. Their use is typically limited to specific uses as authorized by the federal agency awarding the funds.
- Revolving Funds
- Used to account for the financing of goods or services provided by one state Agency to another state agency on a cost-reimbursement basis. To some extent, expenditure of Revolving Funds is double-counting expenditures at the enterprise level since the agency that received the goods or services recorded an expenditure against some other Fund Type(s) to reimburse the agency providing the goods or services. The University of Nebraska and State Colleges also use Revolving Funds to account for revenues from dormitories, student unions, agricultural experiment stations, and other operations.
- Trust Funds
- Used to account for assets held in a trustee capacity, such as retirement assets held in trust on behalf of school employees, state employees (including judges), and county employees.
A high-level grouping of agencies with similar programs and activities.
The State departments, boards, and commissions identified in state statute with responsibility for the administration and oversight of programs, funds, and activities, such as the Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Services, Nebraska State Historical Society, as well the Legislature, state Supreme Court (and lower courts), University and State College Systems. In some cases, an Agency designator is used for appropriation and expenditure recording purposes for funding of non-state entities, such as Aid to Community Colleges and the State Board of Agriculture (State Fair).
The State's budgetary control is maintained at the Program level. A Program is a distinct activity or goal to be accomplished with the resources (e.g. revenues and appropriations) generated or provided. The activities conducted with the resources made available to a Program are typically directed by state statute, or law. Resources for a program will frequently be recorded within more than one Fund Type. A Program is assigned to an agency for budget purposes. The smallest state agencies contain only a single program while larger agencies will contain one or more programs for recording revenues, appropriations, and expenditures for distinctly different funds and activities.
A grouping to more broadly categorize similar Revenue or Expenditure objects. They include employee Salaries, their related Benefits, Operating Expenses, Travel Expenses, Capital Outlay, and Government Aid for Expenditures and Taxes, Sales and Charges, Intergovernmental Revenue, Miscellaneous Revenue, Transfers, and Other Financing Sources for Revenues.
Appropriation Type (New Appropriations only)
A mechanism for categorizing New Appropriations authorized by the Legislature. They include:
- Accounts for the costs of actually operating state agencies including the expenditure Major Accounts of employee Salaries and Benefits, Operating Expenses, Travel Expenses, and Capital Outlay. Examples of some of the more detailed objects of expenditure included within operations are postage expense, publication and printing, utilities, office and facility rent, repair and maintenance of property and equipment, legal services, information technology consulting services, insurance expense, and purchase of furniture, machinery and computer equipment.
- Government Aid
- Accounts for state payments made to or on behalf of local governments, individuals and quasi-governmental units, such as state aid to schools (TEEOSA), Medicaid, Special Education Aid, Homestead Exemption Program reimbursement to local political subdivisions, the Property Tax Credit program, Developmental Disabilities Aid, Behavioral Health Aid, and many others.
- Accounts for the costs of construction and major repair and renovation of state-owned facilities. Highway and road construction and maintenance is not included in this category, but is instead accounted for as agency Operations.
Aid Category (New Appropriations only)
A mechanism for categorizing New Appropriations authorized by the Legislature. New Appropriations from the General Fund for government aid programs are typically earmarked by the Legislature in an appropriations bill using a name identical to or similar to the descriptions shown in this site.
Links to Other State of Nebraska Budget Information
- Department of Administrative Services – State Budget Division
- Department of Administrative Services – State Accounting Division
- Nebraska Legislature – Fiscal/Budget Reports
- State Treasurer's Office
- Department of Revenue
- Auditor of Public Accounts (State Auditor's Office)