State Legislatures Face Challenges

Budget deficits require state legislators across the country to consider spending cuts and revenue increases. They should support programs that build the rural economy like microenterprise development.

Many state legislatures across the country face challenging budget deficits that require them to make spending cuts and consider revenue increases. As legislatures convene in January, we urge them on behalf of ordinary rural Americans, to make smart budget choices – choices that don’t cut the very programs that build their states’ rural economies.

Our home state of Nebraska has long been recognized as a national leader in development of microenterprise (non-farm small businesses with zero to five employees). Nebraska has been one of the few states to fund development of microenterprises through loans, business training and technical assistance.

The state’s support of small business has been critical to building Nebraska’s economy, especially our state’s rural economy. Over the 12 years data has been collected, state funding has:

  • Directly financed 1,147 businesses in the state.
  • Provided nearly $11 million in business loans (through June 2009).
  • Helped create nearly 2,000 jobs (an average of 1.7 jobs per business that received a loan from state funds).
  • Allowed nearly 23,000 Nebraskans to obtain business plan training and business assistance (through June 2009).
  • While microenterprise is always the backbone of the economy in rural areas, it is especially critical in a recession. During our last recession, from 2000 to 2003, microenterprise employment grew by 9 percent across America as employment in larger firms fell.

    It is clear that support for microenterprise development builds the economy. And while we understand the tough job facing state legislators, it is critical for them to be mindful of protecting rural development programs that help pull communities, states and our nation out of recession. For more information, contact Traci Bruckner, tracib@cfra.org or 402.687.2103 x 1016.