As we get closer to turning the calendar to a new year, Governor Dave Heineman is taking a long, hard look at the budget. It is obvious that spending will have to cut but the question is how deep and will it last.
“This is one where the people of Nebraska agree with me. We need to balance our budget without raising taxes. Look at every program. I’m spending three or four hours a day right now on the budget looking at every line item. Some programs that maybe we had around for a long time may be eliminated. There are programs that we would like to give more money to but can’t afford right now. Just like every family, we have to back off the expenses when we don’t have the income coming in. We are going to prioritize those things that relate to job creation and education. That is the key.”
When it comes to education, the state may see cuts there as well. Governor Heineman says the problem here is the Medicaid requirement.
“You are going to have a choice. Are we going to continue to prioritize education or is it going to be Medicaid funding. Medicaid is growing at an alarming rate. It is essentially taking over education. However we do this, and everyone knows that in K-12 for example, stimulus was one-time funding but I believe we can do it. We are very resourceful in this state.”
Governor Heineman says when it comes to education, the priority needs to be the classroom and not administration.