Gov. Pete Ricketts has cut $56.5 million from the Unicameral’s $8.9 billion budget.
Ricketts announced his action during a Monday afternoon news conference
“I am proposing $56-and-a-half million in vetoes, $11 million you saw that on Friday, to be able to correct the gas tax increase and to be able to get us back to a 3% reserve,” Ricketts told reporters.
Ricketts said his cuts leave the budget essentially at the spending level he proposed in January.
Ricketts used his line-item veto authority to carve out the extra cuts. Most state agencies will receive another half-a-percent cut to their budgets, including the University of Nebraska system, state colleges, and community colleges.
“We made three exceptions to that half-a-percent cut,” Ricketts stated. “If the agency was already taking a three percent cut or more we exempted it. If I had exempted that agency in LB 22, like Corrections, we exempted it or if the cut would come to $1,000 or less, we exempted it as well.”
Ricketts said he made further cuts out of concern about sagging state revenue. State tax revenue has fallen short of projections 14 out of the last 22 months.
“With the Forecasting Board revising down our revenue picture for this year, to $4.3 billion, we are actually going to be taking in less money this year than we took in each of the two prior years. So, this is not about cutting the growth of government, this is about cutting government.”
Ricketts did not make any cuts to state aid for public schools, the Department of Correctional Services, or the property tax credit relief fund.
On Friday, Ricketts returned LB 330e after cutting $11 million budgeted for an upgrade of the heating and cooling system at the Capitol.
AUDIO: Gov. Pete Ricketts announces his state budget line-item vetoes. [26 min.]