Unicameral passes bill eliminating state aid to cities, counties, NRDs

Lincoln, NE – A bill that would cut state aid to cities, counties and natural resource districts now sets on the desk of Gov. Dave Heineman for consideration.

Senators voted 36-9 last Friday to advance LB 383 to final approval. The bill, which was introduced by Sen. Abbie Cornett of Bellevue on behalf of the governor, would save the state about $44 million over the course of two years.

Heineman said at a Revenue Committee hearing in January that he believes local governments are capable of dealing with the loss and could consider implementing salary freezes to make up for losses. The state aid also makes up a small percentage of their total budget, he said.

Most opponents, like local government representatives, said the bill would eliminate between 1 to 2 percent of their budget, putting on pressure to increase property taxes, cut jobs, go without certain services or find other sources of funding.

With the governor's signature, the bill would go into effect July 1, 2011.