Gov. Pete Ricketts has signed adjustments to the two-year $8.8 billion state budget into law.
Ricketts made no line-item vetoes to the three budget bills.
Legislators this session faced altering the two-year state budget they approved last year to adjust to declining state revenue as well as increased costs. State revenue has fallen approximately $175 million short of expectations. The cost of delivering child welfare services has risen by more than $55 million.
This year’s main budget bill, LB 944e, cuts state agencies 2% both this fiscal year and next fiscal year. It cuts the University of Nebraska and higher education by 2% this fiscal year and 1% next fiscal year.
It took some time for the legislature to approve the budget this session, but that had nothing to do with the cuts.
Controversy engulfed the budget when Gov. Ricketts inserted language restricting the use of federal family planning funds. The language directs the money only to clinics which provide family planning services without performing abortions, effectively carving Planned Parenthood out of the budget. Supporters had to overcome a filibuster which derailed approval of the budget twice. It passed only when a handful of legislators negotiated a compromise, which changed the language, but left the restrictions in place.
Nebraska distributes $1.9 million in Title X funding to 42 clinics throughout the state, three run by Planned Parenthood. The clinics serve 28,000 poor Nebraskans, mostly women.
Gov. Ricketts issued the following statement on the budget:
“The budget adjustments I have signed help to further control state spending. Together, the Legislature and I successfully reduced the rate of spending growth by over 90 percent in the last three years. Additionally, these bills contain important new budget language, which ensures that Title X taxpayer dollars do not fund abortion services, including abortion referrals, at any clinic in Nebraska. Thank you to Speaker Scheer and Chairman Stinner for their leadership in guiding these adjustments through the legislative process.”