Legislature tackles budget questions

Posted by: Abigail Wood

awood@klkntv.com

"These cuts may not be cuts at all, but a shifting of burden into the future," said Columbus Sen. Paul Schumacher at the legislature Tuesday. "A debt. A borrowing." 

Disagreements started early in the legislature in response to Governor Ricketts’ budget proposal. Facing a $900 million shortfall, the governor tightened the belt, causing some agencies to get hit pretty hard.

Senators on the appropriations committee loosened these cuts a little, but their amendment left some people, even the legislature itself, still scraping for money.

"They did great work," said Sen. Bob Krist of Omaha. "But we were not represented in this document."

Sen. John Stinner, who serves on the appropriations committee, says the legislative council didn’t argue for more money in the hearing, but he will consider Krist’s concerns along with other pressing priorities.
 
"When you look at the governor’s budget he has two areas where he’s set the priorities," Stinner said. "That’s corrections and funding K-12 education. We may come up with different priorities, different mixtures, but that’s what you have to do when you’re short of funding."

The committee’s amendment had three major areas where they bucked the governor’s proposal, suggesting he give $4 million back to the Supreme Court, $3.5 million to developmental disability providers, and over $5 million to UNL.