Nebraska lawmakers approve new $9.3 billion, two-year budget

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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- Nebraska lawmakers have approved a new $9.3 billion, two-year budget despite objections from a group of fiscal conservatives who wanted spending cuts.

The main budget bill won final approval Tuesday on a 35-12 vote. It now heads to Gov. Pete Ricketts, who can approve it, reject it or use his line-item veto power to cut specific items.

The budget includes $51 million annual boost to the state's property tax credit fund, which is used to reduce the total amount owed on property tax bills. It also boosts funding for health care, child welfare and behavioral health services.

State spending under the new budget will increase by an average of 2.9% per year, which is less than the 3.1% increase proposed by Ricketts. Some lawmakers argued for spending cuts.

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