Budget debate reignited the day after passage as Sen. John Kuehn of Heartwell took to the floor objecting to claims by some that opponents of the budget came close to forcing a state government shut down.
“It’s easy to put a lot of political theatre and grandstand and storm around about the consequences and disaster vision and we’re heading to a cliff when they’re not true,” Kuehn told colleagues during legislative floor debate Wednesday.
Kuehn pointed out it was LB 331e which came up a vote short of the total needed to become effective immediately upon the signature of Gov. Pete Ricketts. LB 331e authorized the transfer of cash reserves, which the Appropriations Committee recommended to help make up for a portion of the billion dollar state revenue shortfall the legislature faced while crafting the biennium budget. LB 327e contained the funding for state government.
After a reconsideration motion passed, the legislature approved LB 331e, then approved LB 327e.
Kuehn and other opponents of the state budget said state government functions were never threatened and insinuations that they were simply were not fair and not true.
But, Appropriations Committee chair John Stinner of Gering, who had claimed opponents came close to a governmental shut down, said all the budget bills work as a package.
“The budget’s a puzzle; has a lot of moving parts,” Stinner countered during his time at the mic. “I don’t have to defend myself; my actions. I did what I thought was right.”
The Appropriations Committee recommended approximately $700 million in budget cuts, then took $173 Million from the state “rainy day” fund, swept cash reserves from a number of state agencies, and lowered the minimum budget reserve from 3% to 2 ½%.
Opponents contended the committee should not have relied so heavily on cash transfers and, instead, should have make deeper budget cuts.
The budget has been sent to Gov. Pete Ricketts for his consideration.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]