Don't Slash Investment in Small Town Nebraska

At the Center for Rural Affairs we’ve learned, from experience, that entrepreneurial development serves small town Nebraska better than other economic development strategies. Traditional industrial recruitment simply does not have the economic heft that entrepreneurs create in rural communities. Entrepreneurship adds jobs, raises incomes, creates wealth, and improves the quality of life of local citizens in myriad ways.

Economic development policy in Nebraska should more fully recognize the importance of entrepreneurship as a rural development strategy. To its credit, the state has invested in loans, training and business planning assistance to foster entrepreneurship and the innovation, creativity and economic opportunities that it creates.

And for years we’ve fought to defend and grow that program and the support it provides microenterprise - small businesses with 10 or fewer employees. However, a bill introduced this year in the Unicameral, LB 475, would allow economic development officials to slash investment in microenterprise by two-thirds, without any additional Legislative approval, from $1 million to $300,000 annually.

The loans, training and business planning made possible by this investment in prior years, and the private and federal money leveraged with it, will shrink and Nebraska small businesses, jobs and tax revenues will be lost if LB 475 is adopted.