Small business matters in Nebraska


By Johnathan Hladik, former policy director

Nebraska is home to 145,000 businesses with five or fewer full time-equivalent employees, accounting for 86 percent of all enterprises in the state.

From Omaha to Imperial, approximately 24 percent of Nebraskans are employed by these operations.

With the Nebraska Legislature expected to resume debate this session on Legislative Bill (LB) 720, which would create a new batch of business tax incentives for large employers, a much different conversation is taking place inside the Revenue Committee. 

That is where LB 879, introduced by Sen. Suzanne Geist, is being debated. As written, the bill would eliminate the only true incentive available to small businesses.

That begs the question: does small business still matter in Nebraska?

We say it does.

Along with agriculture, these businesses are driving the economy in rural Nebraska. Just one successful business can reshape the community.

This philosophy was top of mind when the legislature created the Nebraska Advantage Microenterprise Tax Credit in 2005. Available only to businesses with five or fewer full time-equivalent employees, the credit encourages applicants to start or expand microbusinesses.

The program has a proven ability to produce. Overall, it has provided benefits to individuals in 79 of Nebraska’s 93 counties.

We think the answer is clear: small business matters in Nebraska, now more than ever. Voting to repeal the Nebraska Advantage Microenterprise Tax Credit would send the wrong message to small business owners. We urge the legislature to focus instead on creating a welcoming climate for all entrepreneursno matter how small.