***Governor made his comments on Friday
Governor Dave Heineman says he’s worried about the direction some legislators are taking the special session to address the budget shortfall. Heineman brought lawmakers back to Lincoln for the session that begin November 4th in an effort to cut some 335-million dollars from the state budget.
So far, the governor says, not so good. “I’m concerned, what I’m seeing,” Heineman says. “The key is to reduce spending, not to increase taxes. When family income is down, families reduce their expenses. That’s what we need to do in state government. What I see is, they’re restoring some of the reductions, they’re increasing spending. I don’t know how they’re going to balance their budget yet.”
“I’m nervous. I hope they come to their senses and get it done properly,” he says.
One proposal would cut about 32-million dollars from state aid to education. Heineman says he thinks schools can handle the cut. “I’ve met with more than a hundred superintendents, teachers, school board leaders all across the state of Nebraska,” the governor says.
“They were very unanimous in telling me, ‘Governor, we want to be part of the solution. We know we’re going to get a budget adjustment. Just don’t do it in the current fiscal year; do it next year.’ That’s what we agreed to, that’s what I proposed. I hope that’s where we end up.”
Part of the budget cutting plan would hold state aid to schools at the same level for next year. Heineman says he doesn’t buy the talk that doing so would be another cut. “That’s Washington talk, if you asked me,” Heineman says. “If it’s still flat, you didn’t go down. You didn’t go up like you might have wanted to but all of our families, all of our businesses have had to adjust to to that economic reality, too.”
The special session was initially expected to last two to three weeks.
Thanks to Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton