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Ricketts trims some spending with line-item budget vetoes

April 5, 2022 GMT

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts on Monday trimmed $51.8 million in spending from the new state budget that lawmakers sent him last week before signing the rest of the package into law.

Ricketts, a Republican, announced that he had reduced funding for several initiatitives using his line-item veto power, which lets governors change specific parts of the state budget passed by lawmakers while keeping the rest intact.

Ricketts said he cut $51.8 million in general-fund spending increases for providers of behavioral health, child welfare and other services. Instead of a 15% increase approved by lawmakers, providers would get a 5% raise.

He also struck $14.8 million in increased costs for heating, ventilation and air conditioning upgrades at the state Capitol, but allowed a $10.5 million increase to account for supply chain disruptions.

Ricketts cut in half the $8.3 million approved for bike trail work and blocked a $15 million transfer from a prison overcrowding fund to a vocational life skills program fund, sying the transfer would have drawn from money set aside to build a new state prison.

He also eliminated $20 million for an affordable workforce housing program, but kept $40 million for current needs.