OMAHA, Ne. – Business and community leaders have formed a group to support the University of Nebraska system as budget cuts loom.
The group, One Nebraska Coalition, took out newspaper ads across the state over the weekend as part of its effort to share the good news of the university.
Gov. Pete Ricketts has proposed a midyear cut of 2 percent for the system, the state colleges and many state agencies. They would face another cut, of 4 percent, in 2018-19. State revenue reports have been disappointing for many months.
Former state Sen. Mike Flood, chairman of the coalition’s board, told the Omaha World-Herald that the coalition isn’t quarreling with the governor – it just wants to support the system over the long-run.
The state relies on the university system to provide engineers, physicians, nurses, lawyers and other professionals, Flood said.
“I want Nebraska to be affordable, and quality,” Flood said of the university. “And I think a lot of middle-class families rely on that.”
The coalition’s ad includes a portion of an op-ed piece by NU Regent Howard Hawks. Hawks said the cuts “would fundamentally change the face of our university, to the point that its vital role as a driver of workforce and economic growth would be dramatically diminished.”
The governor aims to balance the budget without raising taxes, said Ricketts spokesman Taylor Gage.
“During this period of budget restraint, everyone must step up and do their part,” he said.