New Budget Plan Gets Close Look

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The Appropriations Committee released its "blue book" Tuesday. The plan lays out ways to handle Nebraska's growing budget deficits. But there is one issue that stands out for not being in the plan. That's the low-level nuclear waste site lawsuit. "I think we all realize at some point we're going to have to come to grip with that low level case, the 150 million dollar judgement", commented Governor Mike Johanns.

Johanns got almost everything he wanted in this newest plan. It follows earlier budget plans to shift cash reserve funds to cover deficits. The plan assumes revenue will grow from $2.456 billion dollars for the fiscal year 2002-2003 budget, to $3.1217 billion for the 2006-2007 budget.

Winners includes school aid, which gets an additional ten million dollars for the 2004-2005 years. And school aid tops the losers list because by the year 2007, aid would be reduced by millions and the state would force local school districts to reduce their tax levy from a cap of $1.10 per $100 assessed valuation to a limit of one dollar.

The plan is up for debate Wednesday.