Nebraska voters said yes to expand Medicaid coverage to an additional 90,000 residents in Tuesday’s election. Reelected Governor Pete Ricketts was against Initiative 427 saying it is going to restrict an already tight budget.
Governor Ricketts says, “This is going to cost tens of millions of dollars. I’m not going to raise taxes so that means it all has to fit into the budget. If you look at our overall education, our General Fund budget, about 45% of it goes to education. That means less money for K-12 education. Less money for higher education. Less money for property tax relief and even potentially roads.”
Governor Ricketts is also concerned that the no work requirement in the Medicaid package will be a disincentive for people to work. He says we need more Nebraskans back in the workforce and this will work against that goal.
The alternative to raising taxes to fund the expansion, according to Governor Ricketts, is economic development. He says, “We have been rewarded with more economic development projects per-capita than any other state in the nation for two years in a row. Companies like Facebook in Papillion, their billion dollar project there. Costco in Fremont, $300 million. Kawasaki created the first aerospace division in Lincoln. We want to continue to seek these types of employment opportunities.”
Ricketts says over the next four years his top three goals will be economic development job creation and property tax relief.