Gov. Pete Ricketts has signed into law the bill cutting $137 million from the current fiscal year state budget.
Ricketts said he’s pleased the Unicameral acted quickly on his recommendation to make cuts now.
“I want to complement Sen. Stinner as chairman of the Appropriations Committee and the entire Appropriations Committee for all their diligent work on getting this done,” Ricketts told reporters during a news conference in his Hearing Room at the Capitol. “It was important to get this budget modification to get our budget in line for this fiscal year to set the foundation for the next budget.”
The cuts will soften the blow of a projected $900 million revenue shortfall in the upcoming two-year state budget.
Ricketts had originally proposed cutting $157 million in the current fiscal year. Legislators restored more than $5 million to the University of Nebraska for research, $4 million to the Supreme Court budget to fund probation-related services, and $3.5 million for services to the developmentally disabled. LB 22 passed on a 42-3-3 vote.
“They obviously made some changes to it,” Ricketts acknowledged. “That’s part of the legislative process, but I’m pleased today to be able to sign this bill, because this is really the first step in getting our budget back in order.”
The governor further acknowledged the revenue projections might not improve any time soon.
“As you know, between November and December, we were $50 million below forecast even that revised down forecast. So, we have some challenging budget times, no doubt.”