In news reports today, Governor Dave Heineman says he is considering turning back $1.28 million in federal funds to help pay for the state’s education costs.  This possible rejection of money comes after last week’s announcement that Heineman wasn’t sure if he would apply for the $1 million to plan for the health insurance exchanges.

Once again, Heineman is playing politics and trying to be on both sides of an issue.  Earlier this year, Heineman was one of 47 governors that wrote Congress asking for this money.  Now, he says he may not want it.  Next week, he may be for it or against it, maybe both or maybe he will be okay with the old “I was for it before I was against it” line.
This isn’t the first time Dave Heineman has flip flopped and been for something before he was against it.
Heineman held several positions, both for and against, on whether he would use federal stimulus funds for unemployment benefits.  Heineman was for it, then against it, and then for it again when he signed a bill into law spending those very federal dollars that he was againt.
My heads hurts.
Dave Heineman must think that Nebraskans aren’t paying attention.  He still hasn’t told Nebraskans how he plans to pay for his $700 million budget deficit.  We have yet to hear ideas on possible new revenue streams.  Instead we hear about cuts and Heineman saying no.  
The fact of the matter is, Heineman’s actions could leave property tax payers footing the bill.
Whether or not Dave Heineman wants federal aid or not all depends on which audience he is playing to.   He tells Nebraskans he doesn’t want it.  Then he tells Congress he does. And then, as a matter of pure politics, signs a letter with other Governors so he can earn points in order to earn their vote to make him the Vice Chair of the Governors Association.
Heineman says he won’t raise taxes, then talks about balancing his budget shortfall on the backs of local taxpayers.  Playing politics may be fun for someone that lives in a house owned by the taxpayers, but Nebraska families struggling to make ends meet can’t afford paying higher property taxes because of Dave Heineman’s political games or ambitions.

We hope Governor Heineman is seriously considering taking the $1.28 million that will save over 1,000 jobs in Nebraska.  We hope that he applies for the $1 million grant to help establish insurance exchanges (a Republican idea).  We hope he is considering revenue options for dealing with his huge state budget deficit.  And, we really hope Heineman stops playing politics with big issues.  We need him to lead, to be our Governor.  We don’t need him to give talking points that are easy to give, and as we have seen with past behavior, difficult to follow through on.

OWH’s Joe Morton covered this topic on Saturday.  Heineman’s answer of “I’m forced to take the money” proves our point up above.  This is all a political sideshow.  His talking points play to a base of anti-government voters and he takes the money anyway.