State lawmakers override the governor’s veto of a teacher pension bill that earlier passed the legislature unanimously.
Sen. Jeremy Nordquist of Omaha, sponsor of LB 553, tells colleagues overriding the governor is the fiscally prudent thing to do.
“If we do not override this veto, we have a bill of $88 million that we have to find somewhere in the budget,” Nordquist states.
Nordquist based his override request on numbers. He says a pension plan for teachers and others in the state education system once amassed $6.5 billion, until the stock market dropped. It has since rebuilt to total $7.4 billion in assets, but with $9.6 billion in liabilities, the plan falls $2.2 million short.
Gov. Dave Heineman vetoed the bill, objected to the fix proposed in LB 553. Among other things, Heineman said the bill required too much from taxpayers and too little from teachers. Though the contribution rate for teachers has increased from 7.28% of a teacher’s salary to 9.78%, the state contribution will double, moving from 1% to 2%.
Sen. Tyson Larson of O’Neill also says the bill fails to fix long-term problems.
“If we don’t address real sweeping change and make hard decisions next year we’re going to continue to have this problem in five years, ten years,” Larson says.
Nordquist disagrees. He says the fix should actually create a surplus, eventually.
LB 553 breezed through the legislature earlier this month, passing on a 34-0 vote. The legislature votes 32-1 to override the governor’s veto.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]