For the second time during his two and one-half years in office, State Treasurer Don Stenberg is asking the Nebraska Legislature to reduce the budget of the State Treasurer's Office.
"As a candidate, I said that as State Treasurer, I would look for ways to bring economy and efficiency to the operations of the Treasurer's Office," Stenberg said in a prepared statement. "I am once again asking the Appropriations Committee to reduce the general fund budget and the operating budget of the State Treasurer's Office."
Stenberg's budget request for fiscal year 2013-14 calls for an overall budget reduction of 1.2 percent from the current operating budget and a state general fund reduction of 6.6 percent from the current budget. The Treasurer's budget cuts are reflected in the Appropriations Committee's preliminary recommendation.
"The committee's preliminary recommendation for the next two fiscal years is very much on track with the budget request I made last fall," Stenberg said Friday in testimony before the Appropriations Committee.
The preliminary recommendation from the Appropriations Committee for the Treasurer's Office for fiscal year 2013-14 calls for a general fund appropriation of $1,297,426, which represents a reduction of $91,703 from the current budget, and a total operating budget of $4,718,850, which represents a $55,589 cut from the current budget.
Stenberg noted that when he appeared before the committee two years ago he asked for a 13 percent reduction in the Treasurer's Office budget. At that time, Stenberg asked the Appropriations Committee to cut his budget by more than $700,000 for fiscal year 2012 and nearly $1.4 million over fiscal years 2012 and 2013. He said then that he was following through on his commitment, as a candidate, to look for ways to bring economy and efficiency to the Treasurer's Office. The request was approved.
"Through careful management practices, we have successfully operated on that substantially reduced budget for two years without requesting a deficit appropriation," Stenberg told the committee. Greater reliance on electronic payments and electronic receipts in the office's Treasury Management Division and the Child Support Payment Center helped contribute to the savings, he said. The office also has reduced its staff size and has carefully managed its resources, he said.
Stenberg said he appreciated the fact that the Appropriations Committee understood that he was able to make reductions in certain operating areas of the office, while also recognizing that increases were needed in other areas "to properly carry out our statutory duties and responsibilities." In particular, he noted additional funds were needed to carry out the work of the Unclaimed Property Division.
"Many office holders and those seeking office say they are in favor of cutting government spending, but most of them never actually do it. Many state and federal government administrators try to create new programs, increase their budgets, and increase their power and authority," Stenberg said.
This leads to increased spending of the taxpayers' money and unnecessary bureaucracy and red tape. We need to go in a different direction. We need less government, less spending and less bureaucracy. My request today for a further reduction in the Treasurer's Office budget is another step in that direction," he said.