Ricketts Cuts Nearly $52 Million From Budget Bills | Regional government

Gov. Pete Ricketts announced Monday that he had signed a trio of budget bills but had vetoed them totaling nearly $52 million, including provider rate cuts, middle-income housing and money for a trail between Lincoln and Omaha.

The cuts he signed totaled $51.8 million from the general fund and cap state spending growth at 4.8 percent.

“My vetoes will ensure that Nebraska is prepared to provide top-notch government services while maintaining an opportunity for tax relief,” he said in a press release announcing his decisions.

The vetoes entered on the invoices (LB1011, LB1012 and LB1013):

* Reduce the proposed 15% supplier rate increase to a 5% rate increase. Providers care for the most vulnerable Nebraskas, such as those in nursing homes and foster homes.

* Reduce the cost increase of the Capitol HVAC project by $14.8 million, while allowing for an increase of $10.5 million.

* Eliminate a transfer of $14 million to the cash reserve fund. He said the balance is needed to fulfill hospital decompression unit obligations and allow CARES Act grants to close.

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* Eliminate a $20 million transfer for affordable workforce housing, which will still receive $40 million.

* Cut $8.3 million for the Missouri-Pacific Trail development between Lincoln and Omaha to $4.15 million.

* Prohibit the transfer of $15 million from a prison overcrowding fund to a vocational and life skills programming fund within the Department of Corrections. He said the funds should be used to replace the deteriorating state penitentiary.

Senators return Tuesday for the 53rd day of a 60-day session. At least 30 senators would have to vote yes to override the vetoes.

At least two-thirds of state senators supported each of the three bills in the package, although some voted no or abstained in protest at the lack of progress on a tax cut proposal.

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