By Bryan Slone, President, NE Chamber
As Nebraska plans for our post-COVID recovery, it’s urgent that we unite behind a pro-growth vision and seize a unique generational opportunity to leverage the quality-of-life advantages of our state. The pandemic has fundamentally changed the dynamics of how people view where they live and work. In these challenging times, there is no better place to come together and come home to than our Nebraska communities, from Omaha to Scottsbluff.
Our pro-growth agenda must transcend politics and geographies. Whether urban or rural, conservative or progressive, public or private, we all share a common interest at this critical point. Indeed, whether we focus on maintaining leadership in healthcare, education, our key industries, technology, or infrastructure, our efforts are likely interlinked. All require the kind of economic and population growth necessary to create the economic base and environment to accomplish these goals.
Being pro-growth in this way will require deliberately going on offense as a state. It will require working together in new ways and embracing new policies, public-private partnerships and funding models. It will require a consistent, multiyear commitment by community, business, charitable and public sector leaders to build communities and modern public services and amenities that successfully attract new businesses and new residents to Nebraska (particularly 18- to 34-year-olds).
Pursuing a pro-growth mentality means, not only doing new things, but continuing to support and grow our high-impact industries. It means removing barriers to progress. Depending on your passion, that can mean relieving tax burdens, connecting and upskilling workers, expanding broadband, addressing prison overcrowding, and delivering workforce solutions that move Nebraskans out of poverty.
Fortunately, Nebraska has a pro-growth plan in the Blueprint Nebraska report (blueprint-nebraska.org), its 15 growth initiatives and its related benchmarks for measuring success. This report reflects the input of literally thousands of people statewide and transcends politics and geography.
We were proud to be a partner in the development of the Blueprint Nebraska report, and we are committed to working as a partner with many communities and organizations in the execution of its plan. Blueprint Nebraska calls us to: