An Unmerited Request

Nebraska state agencies recently submitted their budget requests for the 1991-93 fiscal year.
Time will tell how these requests will be received by the Legislature and the Governor. No
doubt some aspect of these budgets will receive close scrutiny, as did the fiscal plan
submitted by the state old age assistance committee in 1936.

"Despite the disapproval of Governor Cochrane, the state old age assistance committee, made
up of various state officers, has filed a budget calling for a two-thirds increase in the salary of
the director from $3,000 a year to $5,000, which is the salary of most of the executive state
officers. The assistant director is slated for $3,600 a year, more than the director himself now
gets. Other chiefs get a third increase.

"There is very little probability that the budget will get beyond the filing stage. Those
familiar with legislative reactions to increase in public pay can guess very closely as to what
will happen to the requests if they ever get before that body. It would take some strong
arguments to justify such increases, and with the funds insufficient to pay the expected
pensions for needy aged, the request is likely to raise the whirlwind whenever the old folks at
home hear about it.

"State officials have found it difficult to get over to elderly people asking assistance from the
state fund for that purpose the fact that the government does not set aside $15 for them, and
that all the federal authorities do is to match the amount given by the state. Sufficient funds
were not provided by the state for matching the $15 a month which is the government limit.
Hence, the federal government contribution is no more than that of the state.

"The major part of the money at the command of the old age assistance committee comes
from the extra cent a gallon tax on gasoline, to which is added $700,000 from the liquor fee
collections and a per capita tax of $2 on each person 50 years or under. Part of the money is
paid out for aid of the blind, dependent children, and child welfare work. Most of it is set
aside for old age assistance.

"Under this set-up any salary increases or increases in the cost of administering the act come
out of the moneys that would otherwise go to the needy aged, the blind and dependent
children. The law that created the commission fixed the salary of the director at $3,000 a
year and directed the board to pay reasonable salaries to needed aids. The board is made up
of the governor, attorney general, treasurer, secretary of state, and commissioner of public
lands and buildings."


--Nebraska State Journal

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