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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