(Lincoln, Neb.)Gov. Dave Heineman highlighted many areas of agreement in state funding priorities. He also issued his line-item vetoes in LB 130, LB 905 and LB 906, which constitute the Legislature’s adjustments to the mid-biennium budget for fiscal years 2013-2015. Gov. Heineman noted that by vetoing millions of dollars of new spending, those taxpayer funds could instead be used for property tax relief for Nebraska’s citizens, including homeowners, farmers, ranchers and small business owners.
“For the past year, Nebraskans have been very clear in telling the Legislature’s Tax Modernization Committee that their biggest concern is high property taxes, and I believe that providing property tax relief is a more important priority than funding fountains at the State Capitol,” said Gov. Heineman. “For more than 80 years, the capitol building has existed without fountains and we don’t need them now. Providing an additional $25 million in property tax relief for Nebraska homeowners, farmers, ranchers and small business owners can be accomplished in the remaining days of the Legislature if State Senators make it a priority.”
In total, the Governor issued approximately $65 million of line-item vetoes to trim the budget that was passed by the Legislature. General fund reductions accounted for $26 million of the total vetoes.
Gov. Heineman noted that developing a budget is a challenging process and that he appreciates and understands the related challenges. While the Governor and the Legislature agreed on many funding priorities, there were areas of respectful disagreement where the Governor used his line-item veto to make spending reductions.
“I want to thank and acknowledge the Appropriations Committee and the Legislature for prioritizing water sustainability funding, Game and Parks deferred maintenance funding, developmental disability waiting list funding and early childhood education funding.”
Governor Heineman approved the following funding:
· $10.5 million for the Natural Resources Development Fund.
· $19.9 million for the Water Sustainability Fund in fiscal year 15.
· $19.8 million for the Water Sustainability Fund in fiscal year 16 and 17.
· $10 million for the Game and Parks Maintenance Fund, including the funding for Ponca State Park and Arbor Lodge at Nebraska City.
· $4.7 million for the Developmental Disability Aid Program and
· $3.2 million for the Early Childhood program.
Governor Heineman also indicated that he will sign LB 814 into law next week that will provide Game and Parks an additional $3 million annually for deferred maintenance.