Lawmakers Debate Adjustments To Biennial Budget

LINCOLN, Neb. – Nebraska lawmakers debated for the maximum 3 hours yesterday on adjusting the nearly $10-billion dollar 2-year state budget passed last year, then moved on without reaching a second-round vote.

The proposed adjustments totaled less than $100-million, including adding another $55 million for NEMA – the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency – to help pay costs from last year’s flooding, but most of the debate was on a call by Sen. Curt Friesen to cut the budget.

Friesen said “everyone needs to tighten belts, and try and make due with what we have as best we can and see where this leads us,” and he blasted Congress and the federal government running up the deficit by trillions of dollars with the coronavirus relief bills.

Sen. Kate Bolz objected to many of Friesen’s proposed cuts including services to the developmentally disabled and for federally qualified health centers. Bolz said she didn’t think it was appropriate in a pandemic to balance the budget on the back of the most vulnerable.