Gov. Dave Heineman has vetoed his first bill for the 2013 legislative season. The bill, LB 553e, looked to change pension funding for certain state employees in order to avoid projected pension shortfalls.
Heineman returned the bill to the Legislature Monday without his signature in hopes that a different long-term solution can be devised. Heineman says he agrees with the short-term solution that would change the amortization method to a level percent of pay for all school, state patrol and judges' retirement plans, but says the long-term changes included in the bill are unwise and unwarranted at this time.
In his letter to the Legislature, the governor states, "I object to the provisions of LB 553 that shift from our traditional balanced approach of having the employee, the employer school district, and the state taxpayers address the problem equitably. Specifically, while the bill retains the current participant teacher contribution rate at 9.78 percent, it increases the state taxpayers' contribution rate from 1 percent to 2 percent -– which is a 100 percent increase that will cost the state approximately $20 million each year."
The governor continued in his letter with a call to lawmakers to pass the short-term solution while also conducting a study to examine the retirement system for state employees.
He went on to say that school lobbyists should not be the only ones involved in these discussions, but Nebraska taxpayers should play a role as well.