Gov. Dave Heineman vetoes $65 million from the $8 billion mid-term state budget, saying the savings should go toward property tax relief.
Of the $65 million vetoed by the governor, $26 million is General Fund spending.
Heineman said his action gives legislators $25 million to add to the property tax credit fund.
“And practically every single one of them ran for legislature saying I’ll do something about property tax relief and they’re going to have an opportunity in the next ten days,” Heineman told reporters during a rare late Saturday afternoon news conference.
The legislature’s Budget Committee added $25 million to the $115 million Property Tax Credit Fund. During legislative floor debate on changes to the $8 billion state budget, an amendment to add another $20 million received 20 votes, five short of the total needed to pass.
Heineman suggested legislators try to increase the property tax relief fund again.
“At that time I think some we’re trying to argue well, there isn’t sufficient funding,” Heineman stated. “Well, I’ve given them the sufficient funding to do it. It ought to be a 49-0 vote.”
The Tax Modernization Committee which met over the interim and held a number of public hearings reported that property taxes topped the list of concerns expressed by Nebraska citizens.
Before any consideration is given to adding money for property tax relief, the legislature will consider whether to override the governor’s vetoes.
Among the vetoes were $11.7 million to upgrade the Capitol heating, ventilation, and air condition system; $10 million for the Behavioral Health Air program; $7.4 million for a Juvenile Services Project Contingency Program; $5.4 million for increased provider rates in Developmental Disability Aid program; and $2.5 million to build the four courtyard fountains at the state Capitol that were planned, but not financed when the Capitol was built during the Great Depression.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]
AUDIO: Gov. Dave Heineman announces vetoes to the $8 billion state budget. [7 min.]