Gov. Ricketts vetoes government-subsidized rental assistance

Published: Mar. 29, 2022 at 6:51 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -Governor Pete Ricketts vetoed Legislative Bill 1073 on Tuesday. The intent of the bill was to require Nebraska to apply for a second round of funding from the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

Excerpts from the Governor’s veto letter to the Legislature are included below:

“The ERAP is no longer about addressing the impacts of coronavirus. Instead, taking three more years of federal funding to make rental payments will create a government subsidy that will make people more reliant on the government for years to come.”

“We must guard against big government socialism where people are incentivized not to work but are instead encouraged to rely on government handouts well after an emergency is over. We cannot justify asking for federal relief when Nebraska has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation and we are no longer in a state of emergency.”

“The State still has nearly $30 million of unused ERAP funds. This means that after more than a year, we have only expended about 40% of the program’s dollars. The remainder is more than enough to meet the legitimate needs for assistance through the end of the year.”

Nebraska Appleseed’s Economic Justice Director Ken Smith issued the following statement on Governor Rickett’s veto of LB 1073:

“Housing is essential for the strength of our community and the strength and stability of our neighbors. We have a responsibility to ensure every Nebraskan and their families have a roof over their heads. The Governor’s indefensible decision to veto a bill that would bring in $120 million of available federal rental assistance funds over the next three and half years would cause serious harm to communities across our state, especially those in rural Nebraska.

It’s time for Nebraska to join the 48 other states who have already accepted their rental assistance funds. It’s now up to the Nebraska Legislature to overturn the Governor’s veto and bring relief to tens of thousands of Nebraskans who fell behind on rent due to the lasting economic impacts of COVID-19.”

You can read Governor Ricketts’ full veto message by clicking here.

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