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Nebraska lawmakers kick off debate on $8.8 billion budget

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska lawmakers have kicked off a debate on a proposed $8.8 billion two-year budget that has already sparked some major disagreements.

Lawmakers gave first-round approval Tuesday to the first of three budget bills.

The first bill would help balance the budget by drawing $100 million from Nebraska's cash reserve. That would leave the state with roughly $297 million in what's commonly known as the rainy day fund.

Some lawmakers raised concerns that they have repeatedly tapped the fund over the last few years, and warned that the state could continue to face revenue shortfalls. The cash reserve topped out at nearly $731 million in fiscal year 2016.

Sen. John Stinner, the Appropriations Committee chairman, says the state should maintain at least $250 million in its cash reserve.



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