November 25, 2014

Heineman supports cancer center, has no plans to withdraw money (AUDIO)

Gov. Dave Heineman

Gov. Dave Heineman says he supports the comprehensive cancer center planned for Omaha after University of Nebraska officials apologized for a mix-up over how the center would be funded.

Heineman says he accepts University of Nebraska President James B. Milliken’s apology for not fully outlining how the $370 million cancer treatment and research center would be funded at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. Milliken earlier promised to leverage $50 million in state money to raise $200 million privately. The university now is seeking $40 million from local governments.

“And that was the whole point, when did this change?” Heineman asks during a news conference. “And they acknowledged it changed after the legislature adjourned and I signed it into law. They’ve apologized. It’s unfortunate it occurred that way. But I’m not aware of anybody at the state level thinking about changing that.”

Heineman says he has no plans on blocking the state contribution of $50 million. The state will give the project $25 million when the university raises the first $30 million in private funds. The second $25 million contribution will be released when the university raises the second $30 million. That money is specifically allocated for constructing the first part of the project: a cancer research tower.

The city of Omaha is considering chipping in $35 million through a cigarette tax with Douglas County adding $5 million from its inheritance tax.

Heineman harshly criticized the university during a news conference last week, prompting Milliken to issue a statement in which he apologized for any misunderstanding.

Go to earlier story by clicking here.

AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]