Coming Together to Grow Nebraska
By Governor Pete Ricketts
August 8, 2022
Governor’s Official Photo here.
Nebraska is experiencing tremendous growth. We have had great success in creating jobs, reducing taxes and attracting investment to our state.
This week I am hosting the Nebraska Agricultural and Economic Development Summit in Kearney. The Summit brings together key leaders from across the state to discuss how to build on our strong momentum. During the Summit, we will dive into the challenges and opportunities we face as a state. Some topics are familiar to us: developing our workforce, opening new markets for Nebraska exports, and growing value-added agriculture. Others are more recent, such as dealing with supply chain issues that have disrupted trade flow over the past year. I look forward to getting together to see where we’ve gone, what we’ve overcome, and how much Nebraska has grown.
Our state’s growth over the past year has been truly remarkable. Nebraska has had 12 straight months of record employment. There are now 24,700 more Nebraskas employed in our workforce than before the pandemic began. Manufacturing employment in Nebraska is at its highest level in more than 14 years.
While generating jobs, we managed to control government spending to provide tax relief. Over the past eight years, we have significantly reduced the growth rate of government spending, limiting it to 2.8% per year. During the same period, we delivered $12.7 billion tax relief for Nebraskans. This year’s landmark tax package (LB 873) will provide 12 times the amount of tax relief of any tax relief bill passed in any previous administration.
Changes to our tax code also make us more competitive for businesses looking for places to expand. This year, we have already seen major investments in Nebraska communities. Here are some examples :
- January: agricultural processing announced that it would build a major soybean processing plant in David City with a processing capacity of more than 50 million bushels per year.
- February: The Norfolk Crush unveiled plans to build a $375 million soybean crushing plant near Norfolk that will process 38.5 million bushels a year.
- March: Favorite popcorn began production at a 123,000 square foot facility in Waco. The company is a key driver of our nationally leading popcorn production.
- April: Google announced a $750 million investment in Papillion/Omaha.
- May, 3M announced a $58 million expansion at Valley to strengthen manufacturing of respiratory and hearing protection products.
- June: Duncan Aviation held a groundbreaking ceremony for its $38 million expansion in Lincoln. The project is expected to create up to 75 jobs.
- July: Monolith materials announced private investment of more than $300 million as it ramps up production at its existing facility in Hallam, builds another plant to make carbon-free ammonia and develops new technologies.
- August: Last week, Clean ports said it plans to spend more than $50 million at Kimball this year as part of a $180 million investment to double its waste incineration capacity in Nebraska. The expansion creates 100 full-time jobs.
As established businesses grow in Nebraska, the entrepreneurial spirit is also strong. Last year, Nebraska attracted an all-time high of $317.6 million in venture capital. That more than doubled our state’s previous record of $153 million in 2018.
Small businesses also thrive in the Good Life. We have worked to help our Main Street businesses access the infrastructure and workforce they need to thrive. We are building rural broadband in Nebraska to expand high-speed Internet access. We have developed a talent pool through programs such as the Youth Talent Development Initiative, High School Career Academies, Registered Apprenticeships and Nebraska Career Scholarships. We are also investing in affordable housing to increase inventory of high quality, reasonably priced homes.
These investments help our small businesses succeed. In its latest Small Business Empowerment Report, Amazon reported that Nebraska vendors selling through Amazon’s online store saw the fastest year-over-year retail growth. of the country, 60%. In federal fiscal year 2021, Nebraska lending institutions helped the Small Business Administration break its previous record for regular program loans in Nebraska at $244 million. This lending activity was $80 million higher than the previous record set in 2011, which is a great sign of small business growth.
Our state’s largest industry, agriculture, has been the engine of Nebraska’s growth. Our beef exports for 2021, at $1.81 billion, were 25% above our previous annual high. Our best crops also had great years in 2021. We set records for soybean and corn production with 1.85 billion bushels of corn and 351 million bushels of soybeans. Nebraska beef brought in $11.35 billion in cash receipts in 2021, up 18% from 2020.
With all this growth, Nebraska is breaking records for state tax revenue. State revenue exceeded forecasts by more than 30% in the past fiscal year, bringing in $1.47 billion more than expected. The state’s rainy day fund is at an all-time high of $1.69 billion. This prepares the next legislature to build on the historic tax relief we provided to Nebraskans in 2022.
By uniting as a state, we have weathered floods, wildfires and a global pandemic with one of the strongest and most resilient economies in the country. As we hold our summit this week, I want to thank our state’s agriculture and economic development leaders for their dedication to building the good life. They personally reach out to industry leaders to encourage investment in Nebraska. They welcome business prospects and international trade managers. They provide hospitality at Husker Harvest Days to showcase our world-class agricultural equipment and technology. They tell the story of Nebraska on trade missions. They are our best ambassadors. And we wouldn’t enjoy the growth we’ve seen without their tireless work.
If you have any questions about the state’s work to support Nebraska agriculture and drive economic growth, please contact me at email@example.com or 402-471-2244.