Small Towns

Rural communities hold the keys to survival in their own hands. With help from policies that build on their strengths as desirable places to live and raise families, they can thrive.
Do these fit with rural communities? Tell us what you think!

Community Development

To thrive, rural communities must invest in themselves and their futures, including rural schools and rural leaders.

Community Food Systems

Local farmers markets, community gardens, and local and regional food systems provide fresh, healthy food for all and keep money circulating in the local economy.

Rural Groceries

Small towns across rural America are losing their grocery stores, and we’re working to help groceries stay around.

Small Towns Notes

 

The Case for Small Schools

Our Small Schools series of articles began as a response to public statements about the need to eliminate small, rural schools. They said small schools are “inefficient,” and take away too many resources (i.e., public aid to education) from deserving larger schools.

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President’s 2018 budget undercuts rural communities

President Trump’s budget released on May 23 demonstrates his lack of understanding and prioritization of the struggles of rural communities.

Although Trump won the presidency with broad support from rural voters, his budget proposes to zero out several programs that address the challenges of rural communities. Proposed cuts include reducing or eliminating support for rural small businesses and entrepreneurs and compromising anti-poverty programs that lead to healthy families.

Exploring growing taxes on Nebraska farms

How does Nebraska’s tax burden balance out?

A recent report from the Center for Rural Affairs explores the tax burden in 13 Nebraska counties. Using data from the Nebraska Department of Revenue, the Center compared income, property, and agricultural property tax trends over a 10-year period. While income tax revenue remained steady, there was a dynamic and growing shift of Nebraska’s tax burden onto agricultural property taxpayers.

Why does Nebraska’s current tax debate matter?

Nebraskans are left to sit upon an unbalanced three-legged tax stool.

The property tax leg is too long, representing more than 35 percent of the state’s tax revenues. The income tax leg of the stool is too short, reflecting 27 percent of state revenue. Sales tax accounts for 30 percent and the remaining 8 percent comes from other sources.

Proposals before the Legislature seek to shift this balance, but in a manner that could leave middle and low-income Nebraskans with access to fewer services while shouldering a greater percentage of the tax burden.