It's all about jobs, jobs and more jobs

Saturday, July 16, 2005

To help tell about the Nebraska Advantage for economic development, state leaders couldn't have picked a better place than the Parker Hannifin plant in McCook. That's because the hose plant provides proof that Nebraska can deliver on its promise of a friendly environment for manufacturing success.

Since coming to McCook as Electric Hose & Rubber Co. in 1971, the hose plant has garnered numerous awards, including the prestigious "Partners in Progress" Award from Sears for outstanding product support.

The reason -- now as in the beginning -- is the exceptional work ethic of the plant's employees. "McCook is among the leading plants in the corporation for the efficiency of operation," said David Lee, who took over June 1 as plant manager in McCook.

As the new manager, Lee was impressed when Nebraska's governor, Dave Heineman, showed up Friday to talk about the "Nebraska Advantage" program. Although he has been in a number of other locations, Lee said he has never been in a state that has shown as much interest in industry as has Nebraska.

And that's exactly the point Gov. Heineman was trying to make when he visited McCook and Parker Hannifin. Along with State Sen. Tom Baker and business and agricultural leaders, the governor was promoting the Nebraska Advantage package passed by the 2005 Nebraska Legislature.

"This is about jobs. Jobs, jobs and more jobs," the governor told the crowd gathered at Parker Hannifin. And the good thing about this package is that it benefits communities and businesses of all sizes -- no matter how small or large.

Another good thing is that the economic development package will help existing businesses. This is assured because of a plan introduced by Sen. Baker to eliminate the personal property tax on business equipment.

Because of that tax change -- which takes effect Jan. 1, 2006 -- Nebraska businesses will have an additional $20 million annually to use for equipment purchases and expansion, Baker said.

The Nebraska Advantage package also offers opportunities for higher education -- including the community colleges in McCook and North Platte -- to provide job training.

As Parker Hannifin has shown, Nebraska is a good location for business and industry. Through the Nebraska Advantage program, the hope is that other enterprises -- large and small -- will follow them in building and growing business and industry in Nebraska.

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