Gov. Pete Ricketts said Tuesday a hiring freeze he instituted has cut the size of state government and reduced the number of state workers.
Ricketts imposed the hiring freeze in October, targeting unnecessary positions, after a report from the Nebraska Department of Revenue showed net September tax collections fell about 5 percent below projections. At the same time, he announced a ban on nonessential, out-of-state travel.
“During these tough budget times, my agencies are practicing the same fiscal responsibility Nebraskans do when their household income declines," Ricketts said. "Cutting back without raising taxes is the right thing to do for taxpayers.”
Ricketts also is working with the Legislature to ensure tax cuts can go forward this session.
The number of employee in agencies controlled by the governor was at 13,786 in October 2016. On Monday, he said, it was 13,490, or 296 fewer.
“Headcount reductions were achieved largely through attrition,” said Chief Human Resources Officer Jason Jackson.
Jackson thanked the numerous agency partners who demonstrated fiscal restraint while preserving service delivery.
"We will continue to work with state agencies to eliminate hiring for unnecessary positions to support the governor’s work with the Legislature to balance the budget,” he said.
Ricketts indicated the hiring freeze would remain for the "foreseeable future."
Some critical positions in state agencies, such as the Department of Correctional Services, have been exempted from the hiring freeze to protect public safety and support service delivery.