Shackled by Poverty

In Nebraska there are 65,309 children living in poverty according to recent data released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The number of rural Nebraska children living in poverty, 28,217, is higher than in suburban or central city Nebraska.
If all the rural children below the poverty level lived in one place it would be the 6th largest city in Nebraska.
Rural Nebraska can benefit by the Legislature expanding the Nebraska Advantage Microenterprise tax credit to allow more small businesses to use it.  The 20 percent credit on investments of up to $50,000 is refundable, which means that businesses that don’t owe taxes receive a cash infusion from the state. The state should also maintain strong funding for the Nebraska Microenterprise Development Act, a program that provides loans, training and technical assistance to small businesses. Nebraska should also expand programs that promote entrepreneurial opportunities in rural communities.
Research – including examination of the Center for Rural Affair’s Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) – has found small business development to significantly increase assets and reduce poverty, especially among rural people.
Nebraska should consider starting Individual Development Account (IDA) programs in rural areas. IDAs are savings accounts matched by public or private funds that allow low-income families to accumulate savings to purchase a home, start a small business or enhance education or training. These accounts allow families to build assets and long-term financial well-being and across the nation have been found to alleviate poverty.
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