Revised revenue projections show Nebraska is expected to collect $44.5 million more than expected over the  next two years — dollars that lawmakers will use to help offset a $986 million shortfall in the upcoming two-year budget.

The Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board presented lawmakers with the first good fiscal news in three years when it said revenues are trending upward and the state could see $44 million more in the next two years over expectations.

Gov. Dave Heineman and the Legislature will use the figures to craft the state’s $7 billion, two-year spending plan that needs to be finalized in May.

Nebraska has collected more revenue than expected for the last three months, fiscal officials said. Receipts for the 2011 fiscal year, which began last July, totaled $1.9 billion, which is 0.8% over ­projections.

The Legislature’s Appropriations Committee last week released a proposed budget that relies on a $256 million transfer from the state’s cash reserves.

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