Professional Experience & Other Research

Below, I describe my professional experience in public finance while working in Lincoln, Nebraska that helped paved the way to embarking on doctoral studies at the O'Neill School.

During the summer of 2016, it occurred to me that the combination of professional experience and adjunct teaching I accrued in Lincoln could serve as an ideal foundation upon which to embark on a PhD in Public Affairs. Those experiences are a major motivating factor in my pursuit of public finance scholarship today, and I am proud to have had those opportunities.

OpenSky Policy Institute (2016-17):

Working at the OpenSky Policy Institute afforded me an opportunity to directly engage with Nebraska's budget process and broaden my exposure of public finance to new areas, such as the laws governing the state's rainy day and reserve funds, the state education equalization formula, local property taxes, budgeting for Medicaid, the tactics used by the Nebraska Legislature to balance its budget, and the messy business of politics during legislative sessions.

I learned two valuable lessons while working at OpenSky: First, that the "losers" of income tax cuts are those who depend on public education and Medicaid, the two largest items in the state budget; and second, I learned much about the policy process and how nonprofit organizations work. The experience inspired me to pursue scholarly investigation of public finance problems.

Looking for Clarity: An Overview of Nebraska Budget and Tax Policy is a document that I spent a great deal of time on, which is intended to familiarize Nebraskans with the state's tax and budget institutions as well as trends in state tax collections and expenditures.

Calling donors to thank them for supporting OpenSky on Give to Lincoln Day, May 26, 2016.

NE DOR staff checking out my Individual Income Tax birthday cake, December 11, 2012.

Nebraska Department of Revenue (2009-16):

My tasks as an economist at the Nebraska Department of Revenue focused primarily on the estimation of proposed and enacted tax expenditures and contributions to the state tax revenue forecast.

  • Fiscal Notes: I completed fiscal notes related to legislative bills that propose changes to the sales and use tax base or to excise taxes.

  • Tax Expenditure Report: I completed the sales and use tax expenditure section of the report and oversaw the collection of information from other divisions and state agencies for the rest of the report. In 2010, I reorganized the report to increase its transparency and usefulness according to best practices in tax expenditure reporting for which I won an award from the Tax Commissioner.

  • Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board: I completed forecasts of excise tax revenues that were included in the Department's general fund revenue forecasts presented to the NEFAB.