Nebraska budget sails through

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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.

Appropriations Committee Chairman Lavon Heidemann said he expected Nebraska's $7 billion budget to be difficult, but it sailed through without any Governor vetoes. (Photo courtesy Nebraska Legislature)

“No other state has achieved this level of cooperation and partnership between the executive and legislative branches,” he said. “Therefore, I will be signing the budget into law without any vetoes.”

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. That’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.

“In the end, what really surprised me is the acceptance from the people of the state of Nebraska,” Heidemann said. “Because we didn’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.”

The additional tax money projected by the state’s Economic Forecasting Advisory Board in April revenue will be put in the cash reserve. So that “savings account” is projected to stay at nearly $300 million, instead of declining to $66 million as had been thought.

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