Several Nebraska businesses have been affected by the recent devastating flooding our state has experienced. Swollen rivers and quickly rising water have washed out roads and bridges, and triggered evacuations. Many homes and businesses have been inundated by water that flowed from nearby rivers.
If your business has been directly affected -- and you need guidance on what to do next -- help is available.
Please reach out to the U.S. Chamber Foundation's Disaster Help Desk at 1-888-My-Biz-Help (888-692-4943). Or visit https://www.uschamberfoundation.org/disaster-response-and-community-resilience/disaster-help-desk.
Earlier this week, on March 6, the Nebraska Legislature's Revenue Committee held its hearing on LB720, which would bring the first major overhaul of Nebraska’s business incentives in 14 years.
The ImagiNE Nebraska Act would replace the Nebraska Advantage Act of 2005 – the state’s primary economic development tool that has resulted in 850 business expansions, $13 billion in capital invested or committed, and roughly 100,000 new jobs statewide.
The Nebraska Advantage Act is set to expire at the end of next year, making LB720’s passage critical this session.
Testifying in support of LB720 on behalf of the State Chamber was Chad Denton, president of CFO Services in Omaha. Chad highlighted LB720’s proposed process improvements, saying the bill would increase the value of incentives to businesses by making simplifications, ensuring that businesses receive earned incentives sooner, and eliminating unnecessary audits.
Other highlights from the hearing included:
During the hearing, much of the focus from opponents was related to the bill’s cost, estimated to be around $29 million in Fiscal 2020-21, but projected to grow to more than $150 million as more projects ramp up under the program. LB720's main sponsor, Seward Senator Mark Kolterman, noted that over the years, costs related to Nebraska’s business incentive programs (LB775 and the Nebraska Advantage Act) have, on average, totaled an amount equal to roughly only 3% of the state’s annual budget. Other supporters told senators that allowing businesses keep more of the money they earn in exchange for new jobs and investment should not be viewed as costs, since such economic activity would not likely have occurred but for incentives.
In his concluding remarks, Senator Kolterman told his fellow Revenue Committee members that he has repeatedly supported efforts to reduce Nebraska’s property tax burden. “But we cannot grow our state by just reducing the property tax burden,” he said, adding that doing away with incentives would be like hanging up a “closed for business” sign.
Currently, 22 senators are cosponsoring the ImagiNE Nebraska Act.
LINCOLN – On February 21, 2019, the State Chamber’s Leadership Nebraska hosted a commencement ceremony in Lincoln to honor 29 individuals for their successful completion of the program’s coursework and other requirements.
This is Leadership Nebraska’s eleventh group of graduates since the program’s first class in 2007.
Leadership Nebraska is focused on enhancing leadership skills and expanding participants’ knowledge of the challenges and opportunities facing our state. The program includes six two-day sessions held over several months in various locations across Nebraska. Topic areas include economic development, health care, agriculture, education, and government and policy.
By completing the program, informed leaders can better understand issues, define problems and develop solutions to serve their communities. Graduates of Leadership Nebraska are encouraged to seek positions of higher responsibility, whether at the local, regional or state level.
The Leadership Nebraska Class XI members who graduated this week are:
Anna Brewer, Nebraska Attorney General’s Office, Lincoln
Carley Bruning, Phelps County Development Corporation, Holdrege
Matthew Burke, First National Bank, Omaha
Linette Gralheer Butler, BD Construction, Kearney
Angela Davidson, Central Community College, Grand Island
Elizabeth Everett, First Five Nebraska, Lincoln
Mike Feeken, St. Paul Development Corporation, St. Paul
Sarah Focke, Kearney Visitors Bureau, Kearney
Peggy Hain, Nebraska Wesleyan University, Lincoln
Erika Hamilton, Humanities Nebraska, Lincoln
Anne Hindery, Nonprofit Association of the Midlands, Omaha
John Hoggatt, First National Bank, Kearney
Sara Howard, Nebraska Legislature, Omaha
Darin Karstetter, Renaissance Financial, Omaha
Shawn Kaskie, University of Nebraska, Kearney
Noah Knisely, CHI Health, Omaha
Steve Konnath, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska, Omaha
Joseph Lang, Omaha Public Power District, Omaha
Marjorie Maas, SHARE Omaha, Omaha
Carsten Mlady, Nebraska Public Power District, York
James Mowitz, Pinnacle Bank, Lincoln
Sandra Reding, AKSARBEN Foundation, Omaha
Tyler Rigby, Nucor Steel Nebraska, Norfolk
Ryan Sevcik, Koley Jessen, P.C., L.L.O., Omaha
Leslie Shaver, Simmons Olsen Law Firm, P.C., L.L.O, Scottsbluff
Angela Simdorn, Hornady Manufacturing, Grand Island
Michael Venem, Fast Global Solutions, Auburn
Nicole West, Black Hills Energy, Papillion
Laurie Zagurski, Omaha Public Power District, Omaha
Applications for Leadership Nebraska's next class may be submitted until April 12, 2019.
For more information, please contact Roberta Pinkerton at (402) 474-4422 or visit www.leadershipnebraska.com.
On Feb. 7 at the State Chamber's Annual Meeting, Gov. Pete Ricketts issued a proclamation declaring February as "Chamber of Commerce Month" in Nebraska.
Presented to the leaders of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce Executives (NCCE), the governor's proclamation states: "Chambers of commerce play a vital role in shaping Nebraska's future by promoting the free enterprise system" by providing leadership and fostering "an economic climate conducive to the growth and development of our great state."
Receiving the proclamation from Gov. Ricketts were NCCE Chair Denise Wilkinson, president and CEO of the Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce, as well as NCCE Advisory Council Chair John Hales, vice president of the North Platte Area Chamber and Development Corp.
On Thursday, Feb. 7, the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry held its annual meeting in Lincoln.
At the Chamber's morning board of directors' meeting, board members reviewed 2019 state legislation and acted on "support" and "oppose" recommendations made by the Chamber's policy councils. Gov. Pete Ricketts spoke at the luncheon, which honored local chambers of commerce from across the state.
The afternoon featured a panel of experts who discussed the state's workforce challenge and current economic conditions; another panel spotlighted federal issues that could affect Nebraska. The third panel -- the traditional Legislative Leaders panel -- featured Speaker of the Legislature Jim Scheer, as well as Senators Curt Friesen and John Stinner, all of whom addressed the current challenges facing the Unicameral.
During the evening hours, approximately 500 attended the Nebraska Business Hall of Fame Banquet, which featured the passing of the gavel from 2018 State Chamber Chairman Rich Herink, market executive for First National Bank, to 2019 Chamber Chairman Todd Foje, the CEO of Great Plains Communications in Blair.
LINCOLN – The Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry has announced the winners of its 2019 Business Hall of Fame scholarships. All six scholarship winners will be recognized at the Chamber’s Nebraska Business Hall of Fame Banquet and induction ceremony, which will be held Feb. 7 in Lincoln. Scholarships winners will each receive $2,000.
The following is a list of the Chamber’s scholarships and this year’s scholarship winners:
The Nebraska Chamber has provided scholarship assistance to deserving students since 1997. To be eligible for a scholarship, students must attend a recognized Nebraska college or university and be pursuing a degree in business-related fields of study.
To date, 90 students have received Nebraska Chamber scholarships since the inception of the program. Funding for the scholarships is donated by State Chamber members.
“Nebraska is a better place when we invest in our young talent,” said Chamber President Bryan Slone. “The Nebraska Chamber is proud to support the journey of these future business leaders and we congratulate them for their accomplishments in their academic careers.”
LINCOLN – The Nebraska Chamber of Commerce & Industry will hold its 2019 Annual Meeting and Legislative Caucus on Thursday, Feb. 7, at The Cornhusker Marriott Hotel in Lincoln. This is one of Nebraska’s largest business gatherings of the year. (For more information, including how to register, call 402-474-4422 or visit www.NEChamber.com.)
According to State Chamber President Bryan Slone, this year’s annual meeting will provide opportunities to learn about the important issues and legislation impacting Nebraska’s economy and business community. Attendees will hear from Gov. Pete Ricketts, as well as state lawmakers and policy experts. Three separate discussion panels will be held in the afternoon to spotlight federal issues, state issues and 2019 priorities at the Legislature.
The evening banquet will feature a distinguished group of business leaders and entrepreneurs who will be inducted into the Nebraska Business Hall of Fame. Established in 1992 by the Chamber and the University of Nebraska College of Business, the Hall of Fame pays tribute to Nebraska’s most accomplished business leaders and their contributions to our free enterprise system. Candidates are nominated by individuals from the business community, business associations and academia.
The 2019 Nebraska Business Hall of Fame class members are:
To register for the Nebraska Chamber’s Annual Meeting and Business Hall of Fame Banquet, or for more information, call (402) 474-4422 or e-mail Charlie Volnek at email@example.com. Online registration is available at https://web.nechamber.com/events.
The State Chamber is Nebraska’s largest statewide business association and has served as the voice of Nebraska’s business community since 1912.
Photos of the 2019 Nebraska Business Hall of Fame inductees are below.