Nebraska budget sails through
May 17th, 2011
Lincoln, NE – Governor Dave Heineman passed the state budget without using any veto power.
The governor signed the $7 billion budget for the next two years. In doing so, he praised senators for largely adopting his proposals, noting that the main bill passed on a vote of 43-0.
â€œNo other state has achieved this level of cooperation and partnership between the executive and legislative branches,â€ he said. â€œTherefore, I will be signing the budget into law without any vetoes.â€
The budget cuts the amount of overall school aid, including federal stimulus funds, by $128 million, or nearly 14 percent, next year, then partially makes that up with an increase of $58 million the following year. Thatâ€™s still about $31 million more than the governor originally proposed. But, Heineman said it was justified by increased revenue forecasts. The budget also cuts payments to many Medicaid providers by 2.5 percent instead of the 5 percent the governor recommended. Senator LaVon Heidemann, chairman of the Appropriations Committee, said he thought this budget would be difficult.
â€œIn the end, what really surprised me is the acceptance from the people of the state of Nebraska,â€ Heidemann said. â€œBecause we didnâ€™t hear a lot of push back. They knew what our challenges were before us, and the state as a whole I believe accepted that and was willing to be part of it.â€
The additional tax money projected by the stateâ€™s Economic Forecasting Advisory Board in April revenue will be put in the cash reserve. So that â€œsavings accountâ€ is projected to stay at nearly $300 million, instead of declining to $66 million as had been thought.
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