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State of State, 1.15

Gov. Pete Ricketts is welcomed into the Norris Chamber by state senators before his State of the State address in January at the Capitol. 

Gov. Pete Ricketts has signed the state's next two-year, $9.3 billion budget into law with no line-item vetoes.

The Legislature sent Ricketts the budget on Tuesday, after at least two rounds survived filibusters from a small number of senators who said the state was spending too much money. Several wanted to reduce the increase the Appropriations Committee had provided the University of Nebraska system, but that effort didn't go far. 

A dozen senators voted against passing the mainline budget bill. 

University President Hank Bounds said Ricketts sent a strong message to the 52,000 students, their families and the people of Nebraska, with his signing of the budget, about the state's commitment to affordable, competitive higher education that grows the state's economy and quality of life.

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Ricketts touted the budget's increase to the Property Tax Credit Fund, which brought the total to more than $500 million over the two years of the budget.

“This budget controls spending to deliver $550 million in direct property tax relief over the next two years," he said. "It also includes over $2 billion in state aid to K-12 education as well as new resources for public safety initiatives."

Ricketts had proposed a 3.1% increase in spending, and the Appropriations Committee whittled that down slightly to a 2.9% increase. 

“Our ongoing commitment to controlling spending helped the state do property tax relief this year, and has set the state up to expand relief in years to come,” he said.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7228 or jyoung@journalstar.com

On Twitter @LJSLegislature.

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