Center for Rural Affairs Responds to Governor's Budget

Release Date: 

01/15/2009

Contact(s): 

Chuck Hassebrook,chuckh@cfra.org, Center for Rural Affairs or Elisha Smith,elishas@cfra.org, Center for Rural Affairs
LYONS, NE - Today the Center for Rural Affairs sharply criticized Governor Heineman's proposed budget.
The Governor's budget slashes funding by two-thirds for both the Microenterprise Partnership Fund, Nebraska's small business and microenterprise development program, and the Building Entrepreneurial Communities Act, the state's rural community development grant program.   

"We understand the need for tightening belts in difficult times. But we don't understand singling out small business and rural development for disproportionate cuts at precisely the time we should be investing in proven strategies to reinvigorate the economy and revitalize rural communities," said Chuck Hassebrook, Executive Director of the Center for Rural Affairs.

In this time of economic downturn there is no better way to invest our limited state dollars than programs that look towards the future and build a more robust and resilient economy in our small towns.

Nebraska Senators made a wise choice in 2007 when they doubled funding for the Building Entrepreneurial Communities Act to $500,000.

With demand increasing for the program, a growing need and demonstrated success, Nebraska Senators should continue support for this program at least $500,000 annually.

Microenterprises and small businesses are a major part of Nebraska's economy. And in a time of economic hardships, it is a wise investment to provide opportunity and economic growth to businesses that create new jobs and innovation in rural communities.

In 2007, Nebraska Senators wisely dedicated $1.5 million to support the Nebraska Microenterprise Development Act. They should maintain the same level of funding for the program even in these tight economic times.

"The Governor's proposed budget maintains funding for the Nebraska Value Added Agriculture Program at $850,000. We applaud that move," stated Hassebrook.

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