Pillen signs Nebraska budget with several line-item vetoes

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — Gov. Jim Pillen signed Nebraska’s budget for the next two years on Wednesday.

The governor said state spending will grow by less than 2%.

“The budget passed by the Legislature and signed into law by me is one of the most fiscally conservative budgets in our state’s history,” he said in a press release. “This budget treats nickels like manhole covers.”

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But Pillen did issue some line-item vetoes.

Under one of those vetoes, Medicaid reimbursement rates for health care providers would increase by 3% next fiscal year but remain flat the year after that.

The budget had called for an increase both years.

“Funding for reimbursement rates will not address any of the systemic workforce shortages and will only provide a band-aid to hospitals’ bottom line,” Pillen said in his veto message to lawmakers.

Jeremy Nordquist, president of the Nebraska Hospital Association, criticized Pillen’s decision.

“The Governor’s veto will increase costs for everyday Nebraskans and will hurt our communities by closing essential rural health care services,” he said in a press release. “This puts our entire state health system at risk.”

Nordquist said the 3% increase next year won’t be enough.

“Hospitals financial margins are going to get worse because our costs are growing faster than the increase,” he told Channel 8.

Nordquist believes that hospitals, without the certainty of the second-year increase, will be forced to make drastic decisions.

“That’s just going to make the decision-making process tougher for them to say, ‘Well, we got to start eliminating some services that we can no longer provide in our rural community,'” he said.

SEE ALSO: Nebraska long-term care homes still at risk of closure, plead for more Medicaid money

Pillen also cut the appropriation for the Shovel Ready Capital Recovery and Investment Act Funds by $20 million.

All told, the governor said his vetoes would save the state $191.2 million over four years.

The Legislature needs 30 votes to override any veto.

Read Pillen’s veto message:

Gov. Jim Pillen's budget veto message

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