State Budgets 2012: Nebraska



To see more state budget news and information, visit State Budgets 2012

Budget Background:


  • Legislative Session for 2012: Convened January 4, 2012
  • Fiscal Year Begins: July 
  • Frequency of Legislative Cycle: Annual
  • Frequency of Budget Cycle: Biennial

Learn more from the National Association of State Budget Officers

Budget News and Information: 2012

4/2/12: Governor Signs Budget Bill, Supports University Funding

Gov. Dave Heineman today signed the mid-biennium budget bills, LB 968, LB 969 and LB 131, into law. The Governor highlighted his support of funding for University of Nebraska projects throughout the state.

In the following statement, Gov. Heineman outlines the $71 million state investment in three projects important to Nebraska's future successes in education and job creation:

"Today, I signed into law the budget bills, and I want to emphasize my support for University of Nebraska proposals. When the University first announced its program, the Building a Healthier Nebraska initiative, I appreciated the potential of the project, but I was concerned about the timing, the use of the cash reserve and that my highest priority was tax relief for Nebraskans. I indicated that the use of the cash reserve should be tied to measurable university fundraising milestones.

Read More: McCook Daily Gazette

3/30/12: State Senators Pass Budget, Propose Right to Hunt and Fish

The legislature sent the budget to the governor on March 27. The budget, made up of four different bills, would provide $17 million for child welfare shortfalls, about $80 million for higher education construction projects and $10 million for special education funding for schools, among other provisions. The governor has five calendar days, not including Sunday, to sign or veto line-items or veto the entire budget.

Read More: North Platte Bulletin

3/16/12: Nebraska Lawmakers Spar Over State Budget Proposal

Opponents of Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman's tax-cut plan argued Friday that the proposal would lead to severe cuts in future budgets, while supporters in the Legislature countered that the state would never have enough money available to meet every spending need.

Tensions remained high as lawmakers clashed over the Republican governor's signature bill, which would consume roughly half of the money available to lawmakers this session. The two-year state budget has about $17.6 million available, and Heineman's proposal would use roughly $9 million.

Read more: Beatrice Daily Sun

3/14/12: Budget Advance, Tax Sniping Continues

The Legislature gave first-round approval to proposed changes in the state budget Wednesday, as sniping continued over whether a tax cut could fit into it.

The budget contains a fistful of capital construction projects at campuses of the University of Nebraska and the state colleges. There's $50 million towards a cancer research tower at the university Medical Center in Omaha. There's $7.5 million for renovations to the Oak Bowl stadium at Peru State College, $6.7 million for an addition and renovation of the Armstrong Gymnasium at Chadron State, and $6 million toward an eventual $60 million for a Veterinary Diagnostic Center in Lincoln.

Read More: NET Radio

3/7/12: No Room for Tax Cuts in Spending

Let the bargaining begin at the State Capitol.

The battle between tax cuts and spending priorities has begun.

Gov. Dave Heineman conceded Tuesday he doesn't have legislative support for his entire $130 million-a-year tax cut package.

He's now working on a "workable and practical" alternative, he said, that costs less but fits within senators' competing spending and tax cut priorities.

Read More: Kearney Hub

3/6/12: Committee Sets Priorities for State Budget

The Appropriations Committee advanced three budget bills totaling $7.2 billion to the full Legislature Tuesday.

In doing so, the committee set its priorities for this budget, leaving only $17.6 million for bills still waiting for debate. The package goes to the 49 senators, who will begin their deliberation next week.

Read More: The Journal Star

2/29/12: Gov Sticks to Tax Cut Plan

Gov. Dave Heineman said Wednesday he is still fully committed to obtaining $130 million-a-year in income tax cuts for individuals and corporations, despite growing worries in the Nebraska Legislature about whether the state can afford it.

If state lawmakers control state spending at the historic growth rate of 3.2 percent, Heineman said in a telephone press conference, the state can afford the multimillion-dollar cuts, as well as fund some construction projects at the University of Nebraska.

Read More: The Omaha World Hearald

Previous Budget Cycle

4/26/11: School Aid Bill Passes

Nebraska lawmakers took a major bite out of the budget shortfall Wednesday with passage of a bill changing the state school aid formula.

If approved by the governor, Legislative Bill 235 would reduce projected state spending by $410 million for the two-year budget period starting July 1.

The measure makes more than a 40 percent dent in the state’s $943 million estimated budget gap. But it is expected to force spending cuts in Nebraska schools, especially those that cannot turn to property tax revenues to replace lost state aid.

Read More: The Omaha World Herald

4/17/11: Omaha, Lincoln Have Greater Need for Local Sales Tax Option than Smaller Nebraska Cities

Officials in Omaha and Lincoln say a bill that would allow Nebraska cities to raise local sales taxes to 2 percent with voter approval would help pay for much-needed projects amid a combined $5.1 million cut in state funding to the two cities.

But their counterparts in Nebraska's smaller cities say they don't have an immediate use for the sales tax option.

Read More: Daily Reporter

4/13/11: Budget a Big Worry

School finances were much on the minds and in the McCool School Board’s discussion Monday night.

“Right now we’re looking at losing about $260,000 in state aid,” said Superintendent Dr. Curtis Cogswell. “That’s a real concern ... how are we going to make up the shortfall” and what “things we can do” to replace those dollars.

He said the district is “trying to get some negotiations on all salaries firmed up hopefully by May so we have some solid numbers to look at. We have to look at (anything) we can do for some cost savings,” Cogswell reported.

Read More: York News-Times

4/5/11: Lawmakers Working to Soften Budget Cuts to Court

Not so long ago, Nebraska lawmakers were told deep budget cuts to the judicial system could force courts to close across the state.

Now, they are working on a solution to soften the financial blow and keep courts open without an increase in court filing fees, as one lawmaker proposed.

Read More:

4/1/11: No Guessing, Schools Get Hard Numbers on Cuts

Hanging out with friends at lunch, taking the same classes offered now. As far as students can tell, it'll pretty much be life as normal at Grand Island Northwest, even after budget cuts. 

Superintendent Bill Mowinkel said, "No programs have been cut, all we did was take all classes of 10 or less and combined them in the elementary schools with another class at the elementary, or offered every other year at high school level."

Like all Nebraska schools, they're facing a loss in state aid. Until now, they didn't know how deep, but turns out their guess was right on

Read More:

3/24/11: Committee Faces Possible Showdown with Governor Over State Aid to Schools

The Legislature's Education Committee appears headed toward a showdown with Gov. Dave Heineman over how much money to spend on schools.

State aid to Nebraska's 253 public school districts this year totals $950 million. But $140 million of that came from one-time federal stimulus money. The other $810 million is state money.

Heineman and lawmakers are struggling to write a new, two-year state budget facing a $986 million projected shortfall in revenue.

Read More: The Journal Star

3/16/11: Nebraska Legislative Revenue Committee to Consider Tax Bill for Worst Case Budget Scenario

A Nebraska legislative panel is scheduled to hear input on bills that would increase the state's sales and income taxes -- but only if lawmakers fail to balance the budget any other way.

Read More: CB Online

3/11/11: State Budget Cuts Could Pull Important Senior Services

Imagine not having access to healthy meals or transportation to and from the doctor. We'll, that's a fear the most vulnerable of our society faces.

In the midst of a possible $1.4 billion budget shortfall, Nebraska legislators and Governor Heinemann put a slew of programs on the chopping block including ones that benefit senior citizens.

Read More: KHAS-TV

3/8/11: Nebraska Lawmakers Debate Tax Credit for Business Start-Ups in Developing High-Tech Industries

Start-up businesses that produce medical devices, renewable energy and other high-tech innovations could qualify for a tax break in Nebraska if a proposal debated Monday wins approval.

The proposal was introduced on behalf of Gov. Dave Heineman, who has said the measure will help grow Nebraska's economy. But some lawmakers questioned its timing in light of the state budget shortage, and raised concerns that Omaha and Lincoln would reap the most benefits instead of the whole state.

Read More: CB Online

3/6/11: Nebraska's Two Largest Cities to Lose $5.1M in State Funds Under Bill Headed to Governor's Desk

Nebraska's two largest cities will lose a combined $5.1 million in state funding under a bill headed to the governor's desk, and other measures pending in the Legislature would limit their ability to make up the money.

Read More: The Republic

3/4/11: Bill to Eliminate Local Neb. Government Aid Passes

A measure to eliminate state aid to cities, counties and natural resource districts will go to Gov. Dave Heineman to be signed into law.

The measure (LB383) was introduced by Bellevue Sen. Abbie Cornett at the request of Heineman. It is expected to save the state $44 million over two years. Supporters have said the move is a necessary step in balancing the budget as lawmakers face a nearly $1 billion budget shortfall.

Opponents have said the cuts would shift the tax burden to property owners and hurt local governments.

Read More: Associated Press

2/28/11: Nebraskas State Budget Battle Targets Public Employees

Lincoln/Omaha, NE -- One in every five Nebraskans works for state or local government. As a nearly billion dollar state budget gaps looms over Lincoln, cost cutting could quickly become controversial when it effects 17 percent of people living in Nebraska, the states entire public labor force.

Read More: Action News 3 (Omaha)