By: Kayla Bremer
Governor Heineman announced Saturday that he would not be running for U.S. Senate, but he has plenty on his agenda when it comes to the state budget.
Heineman returned the legislature's proposed two–year budget. During a news conference at the State Capitol on Saturday, he announced he's used a line–item veto to scratch $44 million from the state budget.
He says what remains will generally focus on the future of Nebraska, including funding for education, growing the state's economy and rebuilding the state's cash reserve.
"We look at every item and we talk about priorities," Heineman said. "Everything isn't a priority...that's why we're in better shape than the rest of the country. We've made the tough decisions."
The state budget will increase funding to K–12 education, the University of Nebraska and state colleges, which will help freeze tuition for the next two years.
Among the governor's vetoes were $4 million in funding for a new nursing college and renovation of the Nebraska History Museum.
He also cut $28 million in state and federal funding for a new Medicaid computer system.
Heineman made it very clear that he will spend the rest of his time as governor focusing on tax relief and tax reform.
He says our current tax code is outdated and it's the only issue worth worrying about it 2014.
"If we're going to compete for future jobs, if we're going to grow economically, if we're going to expand the population of the state of Nebraska, which we need to do, we have to eliminate the income tax, individual and corporate, or at least significantly lower the rates."
The governor proposed eliminating individual and corporate income tax earlier this year, but later asked the legislature to remove those bills from the agenda.
The Legislature's Appropriations Committee will meet Tuesday to discuss each veto and decide if the Legislature will attempt any overrides.