Weekly Column

The president, rural voters and our future

In last fall’s election, enough rural voters switched party allegiance to account for Trump’s victory in several key Midwest and Rust Belt states.

Frustration over the economic plight facing their communities drove many of these voters.

Modern day Great Plains was built by settlers seeking economic and political independence. The region is built on widespread opportunity and the notion that hard work and dedication are all you need to get ahead.

South Dakota can lead in renewable energy

The Great Plains has a bright future in renewable energy, especially in rural areas where there is abundant space and resources are plentiful.

South Dakota ranks fifth in the U.S. for wind energy potential, capable of producing enough energy from wind to meet the state’s energy needs 300 times over. While South Dakota currently produces more than 26 percent of its energy from wind, there is still room for growth in the state.

Small businesses are the backbone of rural communities

Small scale entrepreneurship is a proven strategy to revitalize rural communities. Owning one’s own business can create genuine opportunity across rural America with the support of a modest public investment.

The importance of entrepreneurship is particularly profound in the most rural areas. Our analysis of economic conditions in the farm and ranch counties of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska and the Dakotas found that nearly 60 percent of job growth in the 1990s came from people creating their own job by starting a small non farm business.

Too many unknowns in the property tax cut proposal

The Nebraska Legislature is scheduled to begin debate on LB 461 later this week. Tucked within this compilation bill, posed to cut income and corporate tax rates, is a proposal to change the way agricultural and horticultural land is valued.

While this change in ag land valuation is positioned as the property tax relief Nebraska’s agricultural community has been calling for, rural and urban residents alike should be wary.

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