Governor Walks Away From Rural Mainstreets

Last week, Governor Heineman proposed slashing funding for important rural development and rural small business programs. His budget would cut a full two-thirds from the Microenterprise Partnership Fund, our state's small business development program, and the Building Entrepreneurial Communities Act (BECA), rural Nebraska's community development grant program.
During this national economic downturn, these are exactly the type of proven rural revitalization strategies that deserve the investment of our limited state tax dollars.  And this is exactly the time to invest in rural entrepreneurship and innovative rural development that can reinvigorate the rural economy and revitalize rural communities.

Tightening our budgetary belt in difficult times is important.  But the Governor singling out small businesses, rural mainstreets and innovative rural development for disproportionate cuts makes no sense whatsoever.

BECA and the Microenterprise Partnership Fund are two programs that look toward the future and help build a more robust and resilient economy in our small towns and across the state.

Luckily, the Governor's proposal can be changed by our State Senators.  In 2007 they stood up for rural Nebraska when they doubled funding for the Building Entrepreneurial Communities Act to $500,000 and dedicated $1.5 million to the Nebraska Microenterprise Development Act. Nebraska Senators should, at least, continue support for both programs at those levels.

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