State legislators have worked out a potential budget problem, trimming and postponing bills with budget requests to align legislation with projected revenue.
Lawmakers this afternoon will consider whether to override Gov. Dave Heineman’s veto of a bill that would have allocated $2.5 million to 50 subcontractors in the state child welfare system.
Speaker Mike Flood of Norfolk announced this morning during an informal meeting with senators that several senators had come forward to trim the budget requests attached to their bills or to postpone their bills until next year. Legislative leaders had requested senators cut approximately $10 million in budget requests, an adjustment needed to fit budget requests in line with projected revenue, less the 3% budget reserve. Leaders had argued it would be better for the legislature to trim the budget than allow the governor to make the cuts.
This afternoon, legislators consider another issue carrying a price tag, but not necessarily a budget measure.
Gov. Heineman vetoed the portion of LB 1072 that allocated $2.5 million to pay 50 subcontractors which came to the legislature for payment after not being paid by Boys and Girls Home. In a veto letter, Heineman stated that Nebraska had satisfied its obligations under the contract with Boys and Girls Home to provide child welfare services.
“As the State is not an insurer of private contracts, I object to this attempt to make taxpayers responsible for debts incurred by private organizations,” Heineman wrote.
Sen. Steve Lathrop of Omaha has moved to override the governor’s veto.
Speaker Flood hasn’t made a constitutional argument against the bill, but has cautioned lawmakers about the precedent they might be setting. Flood notes the state has fulfilled its obligation to the contractor, Boys and Girls Home. He says the state, in the past, has not stepped in to pay subcontractors who did not have a direct contract with the state.
“And, I know that’s a very hard thing to hear if you’re one of the providers that wasn’t paid by Boys and Girls Home, but the reality is there’s a precedent there that we have to pay attention to,” Flood says.
The Unicameral takes up the override motion this afternoon.