Gov. Heineman says education, economy, efficiency are his priorities

Omaha, NE – Governor Dave Heineman says strengthening education, growing the economy and making state government more efficient are his priorities this legislative session.

Heineman gave his State of the State address Thursday in Lincoln. He acknowledged lawmakers' work last November during a special session to close a $335 million budget shortfall. But the Governor says Nebraska is still in a difficult financial situation, and he doesn't want to raise taxes.

Senator Jeremy Nordquist of Omaha is a member of the Appropriations Committee. He says Heineman didn't give lawmakers enough guidance on where to cut spending from the budget. Nordquist says this legislative session will be a difficult one because of the budget.

Bellevue Senator Abbie Cornett is chairwoman of the Revenue Committee. She says lawmakers will have to prioritize spending. Like the Governor, Senator Cornett says she doesn't want to raise taxes.

Governor Heineman also called for changes to the state's education system, including the creation of a virtual high school. Cornett and Nordquist both support the Governor's plans for education. But Nordquist says the state must find ways to pay for those initiatives if federal funding doesn't come through.