Nebraska lawmakers have advanced a new, $7.8 billion state budget for the next two fiscal years.
Lawmakers gave first-round approval Friday to the last piece of the state budget package, following hours of debate over more than two days.
The proposed budget calls for $3.8 billion in the fiscal year that begins July 1, and another $4 billion in the following fiscal year.
State spending would grow by an average of 5.2 percent annually. Sen. Heath Mello of Omaha, who heads the budget-writing Appropriations Committee, says the budget responsibly invests in Nebraska.
Some lawmakers questioned the spending, and tried unsuccessfully to increase state funding for property tax credits.
The budget bills require two more votes before they head to Gov. Dave Heineman.