September 2, 2014

Gov. Heineman praises lawmakers on last day (AUDIO)

Gov. Dave Heineman praised state lawmakers for their work this legislative session, addressing the Unicameral on the final day of the legislative session.

“It’s been a very good year for Nebraska taxpayers,” Heineman stated. “We are providing more than $412 million of tax relief to Nebraskans over the next five years. That is meaningful, responsible, and significant tax relief.”

The legislature indexed the state income tax system to inflation, exempted portions of

Social Security income from taxation, expanded the homestead exemption, and added money to the property tax relief fund.

Heineman highlighted tax cuts, though the legislature again this year balked at the governor’s proposal to cut taxes further.

Other legislation won praise from the governor.

“We’ve addressed the water sustainability issue with noteworthy legislation that preserves our water supply for generations to come,” Heineman said. “This legislation is aimed at planning for future water use in our state, especially in preparing for water shortages, as well as addressing water quality and flood control issues.”

Heineman also noted that the legislature has taken the first steps toward prison reform, steps that will continue when the state works with the Council of State Governments this summer.

Heineman added that he was pleased the legislature did not expand Medicaid, a measure that died when supporters couldn’t overcome a filibuster mounted against it. The governor also stated that legislature was right in not authorizing the state to use bonds for road construction, a measure that fell just short of the votes needed for passage.

Even as Heineman praised legislators for their work this year, he looked back over achievements during his decade-long run as governor.

“Over the years, working together, we’ve made a lot of progress on numerous issues,” according to Heineman. “We’ve focused our attention on the two most important, critical issues for the future of our state: education and jobs. We’ve passed statewide education assessments. We are focused on academic achievement and academic improvement.”

AUDIO:  Gov. Dave Heineman delivers farewell address on last day of legislative session. [7:40]