DISTRICT 24 – District 24 State Senator Mark Kolterman, along with other Nebraska lawmakers, economic developers, community leaders and chambers of commerce executives, is participating in a statewide “Good for Nebraska” movement to reiterate the economic benefits of incentive programs to communities of various sizes.

“Job creation, economic growth, redevelopment and talent retention are keys to a prosperous future for our communities – a vision that can be realized with the appropriate economic incentives programs in place,” Brook Aken, president of the Nebraska Economic Developers Association (NEDA).

To illustrate the wide-reaching impact of economic incentives, Good for Nebraska supporters unveiled four hypothetical case studies illustrating the level of prosperity catalyzed by business growth in diverse communities, including new-to-market businesses and business-expansion projects resulting from economic incentives. For example, one new-to-market manufacturing facility can support as many as 763 related jobs statewide and boost personal income by $90.9 million annually.

“Our communities cannot afford to take a timeout on incentives and lose ground in attracting more, good-paying jobs and skilled workers,” said Senator Kolterman, the bill’s sponsor. “My hometown (Seward) is growing by 100 new jobs, thanks to competitive incentives. I hate to think of our future without them.”

“Delivering tax relief and growing Nebraska’s economy go hand in hand,” said Senator Lou Ann Linehan, chair of the Legislature’s Revenue Committee. “We can’t achieve sustainable tax relief with a slowing or stagnant economy. We just have to keep the ball rolling on all fronts.”

ImagiNE Nebraska comes as Nebraska’s current economic incentives program, the Nebraska Advantage Act, prepares to sunset in 2020. Since 1987, incentive programs have created nearly 110,000 Nebraska jobs, and sparked more than $35 billion in qualified investment for the State of Nebraska. Currently, all 50 states, as well as Guam and Puerto Rico, offer economic incentive programs.

“You can’t show up to Big 10 football without a strong recruitment program. And, you can’t show up to community economic development without a strong recruitment package,” said Bryan Slone, president, Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “The ImagiNE Nebraska Act definitely gives our communities better resources.” Slone represented chambers of commerce across Nebraska Thursday in launching Good for Nebraska.

“We are committed to implementing a robust, future-based incentives strategy that facilitates aggressive job growth and workforce development across the state,” said David G. Brown, president and CEO of the Greater Omaha Chamber. Brown also leads the state’s largest economic development partnership – a seven-county region representing 44 percent of Nebraska’s population.

“We can ensure a bright, dynamic future for Nebraska with strong incentives programs in place,” Wendy Birdsall, president, Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, added. “Such proactive planning demonstrates we are committed to growing organizations and talent right here at home, as well as attracting business from around the globe.”

The “ImagiNE Nebraska Act” (LB 720) revises and enhances Nebraska’s incentives by encouraging the creation of higher paying jobs and more investment from employers both in Nebraska and outside the state. The bill has 19 cosponsors.

Supporters say the bill helps address many of the modern needs faced by economic developers today, including:

• Employers can cash in the benefits to support workforce training, talent recruitment and childcare programs.

• Higher wages get better incentives.

• Investments in extremely blighted areas get better incentives.

• Projects that support our strong and emerging sectors (including agribusiness) are prioritized.

• Smaller communities, businesses and startups can take advantage of the program better with lower jobs and investment thresholds.

• Simplifying applications increases Net Present Value of the credits for applicants and the state, delivering more value for every dollar awarded.

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