Gov. Dave Heineman Announces Vetoes To Budget Bills

By: Casey Geraldo Email
By: Casey Geraldo Email

From The Governor's Office:

Key vetoes issued include the following:
·       $7.4 million in general funds provided to the Nebraska Supreme Court for a Juvenile Services Project Contingency Program. This appropriation represents an additional 37.4 percent over the total amount of general funds already provided to the Courts in the current biennium budget. This funding is unnecessary. An analysis of the year-to-date spending through Feb. 28, 2014, the Supreme Court’s Office of Probation – Community Corrections Program reveals the Supreme Court is estimated to underspend current general fund appropriations by approximately $8 million by June 30, 2014.
·       $2.5 million in Nebraska Capital Construction Funds for the construction of four courtyard fountains. The State Capitol was completed in 1932. The decision was made at that time not to install fountains because it was not a priority use of taxpayer money. The governor noted that the citizens of Nebraska have managed well without fountains at the capitol building for more than 80 years.
·       $11.7 million in Nebraska Capital Construction Funds to renovate the heating, ventilation and air condition system in the State Capitol. The Capitol Commission did not request funding for this project during the mid-biennium budget process. Additionally, LB 905 only provides funding of $11.7 million of the $77.8 million currently estimated total cost of this project. That would leave the balance of $66.1 million to future Legislatures to resolve in their budget process. It was noted that a long-term project of such magnitude should be presented and considered during a regular biennium budget process alongside other capital improvement projects, with full consideration and a commitment to recognize and fund the entire cost identified for the project, if that is deemed a priority at that time.
·       $10 million cash fund appropriation and the $10 million general fund transfer provided to the Department of Economic Development for the Job Training Program. No increase was requested nor is it needed by the Department of Economic Development for immediate program needs.
·       $1.5 million in general funds and $1.5 million in federal funds for the proposed state ward permanency pilot project. A request to establish a state ward permanency pilot project was withdrawn by the Department of Health and Human Services because the request was more appropriate to address during a regular biennium budget process. After the veto, adequate funding remains to serve state wards.
·       $5.4 million for increased provider rates. The Developmental Disability Aid program received significant increases when the biennium budget was developed during the 2013 Legislative Session, including $5.9 million for provider rates and $42 million for a new rate methodology for paying providers. The new rate methodology was adopted during the 2013 Session to pay providers based upon actual costs of providing services in the state with provisions for future adjustments for inflation.  The additional new funding is premature before the new methodology is implemented.
·       $10 million in general funds redirected from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) contingency fund program to the Behavioral Health Aid program at the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. The $10 million represents a portion of the anticipated savings to the state behavioral health program. These savings should be captured as intended to help offset other ACA related costs to the state.
·       $1.1 million from the Water Sustainability Fund that was earmarked for the Omaha Sewer Separation project. This project is a local project and should be paid with local funds.
·       $250,000 from the Department of Education for a specific vendor identified by name, potentially violating Article III, Section 18 of the Nebraska Constitution. This is described as unconstitutional and is an inappropriate expenditure.

The additional line-item vetoes are outlined in the LB 130, LB 905 and LB 906 veto messages.


Lincoln, Neb.-- Saturday, a strong statement from Governor Dave Heineman in response to the legislature's budget bills- less excess spending on things we don't need, and more property tax relief.

The Governor vetoed 65 million dollars in spending total, then asked for 25 million of that to be returned to taxpayers in the form of property tax relief.

"If I could decide the budget totally by myself there'd be less spending," said Governor Heineman.

But his message to senators of spend less came with a louder one- give more back to taxpayers.

"Practically every single one of them ran for legislature saying 'I'll do something about property tax relief' and they're going to have an opportunity in the next 10 days," he said.

Heineman said there's no excuse now for those taxes not to be included in the budget bills as the session comes to a close.

"I've given them back the money to do this one," he said.

And while other items included in budget bills didn't make the executive cut, it's not for lack of support that Governor Heineman vetoed others.

"A request to establish a State Ward Permanency Pilot Project was withdraw by the Department of Health and Human Services indicating that the request was more appropriate to address during development of the biennium budget,"

The Nebraska government creates a two-year budget for fiscal years, which starts July 1.

A spokesperson for the Governor said if a project is too costly to be added in the middle of a two-year budget period, he may veto that too and recommend it go on the next budget.

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