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Pillen Releases Budget Plan, Which Immediately Comes Under Fire

Hanna Barczyk for NPR

Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen has delivered his first State of the State address in the state Capitol on Wednesday, spelling out plans to drastically cut taxes while increasing funding to state schools. Pillen reiterated his plans announced earlier this month to increase K-12 public education funding by more than $2 billion over the next six years while cutting income and property taxes. His proposed two-year budget would hold annual growth to just 1.3%, increasing spending by $164.6 million next fiscal year over the current year, and keeping the budget nearly flat the following 2024-25 fiscal year, with a proposed $500,000 increase. Nebraska’s annual budget is about $4.5 billion. Meanwhile, A hospital group is already speaking out against Pillen's proposed budget. The Nebraska Hospital Association says that the proposed budget may not be enough to keep some hospitals alive. Nebraska Hospital Association president Jeremy Nordquist says that Nebraska hospitals wanted a nearly 10-percent increase in state funding in order to keep up with their costs. Pillen says medical bills are already "upside down."