Heineman urges Panhandle residents to protect critical road funding

Governor Dave Heineman Friday urged Western Nebraska residents to fight an expected attempt by eastern Nebraska senators to delay or repeal legislation providing additional road funding.

Outgoing Senator Deb Fischer's bill to provide $50 million a year from state sales tax revenue for new highway construction has an implementation date of July 1st of next year.

Speaking at the Scottsbluff-Gering United Chamber of Commerce annual legislative breakfast, Heineman said the money would fund a ten year state plan to provide critical funding for roads, including the Heartland Expressway, that would enhance economic development in rural as well as urban Nebraska.

Heineman continued to support elimination of the state's inheritance tax, saying he would work with county governments to provide additional services or eliminate the tax in phases so commissioners can adjust to the loss of revenue.

Heineman said he will fight any expansion of Medicaid funding proposed in Obamacare, maintaining it will result in a loss of state aid to education at all levels and increased taxes.

Heineman received the biggest applause from the audience when he said Washington simply needs to "make a decision" on the fiscal cliff issues, suggesting Congressional leaders should be "locked in a room with no bread and water" until they make a decision. Heineman also urged Congress to address immigration, so states aren't dealing with issues that should be established in federal policy.

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