Five years ago, a new package of economic incentives known as the Nebraska Advantage went into effect that has helped attract outstanding new business opportunities to Nebraska while helping existing businesses expand.
We worked closely with the Legislature to develop and pass legislation creating the Nebraska Advantage, which was the first comprehensive update to Nebraska's economic incentives since the mid 1980's. Our goal was to stimulate statewide economic development and job creation.
Today, Nebraska is a global contender for businesses in a number of targeted industries because we worked closely with local leaders and the business community to promote opportunities that make Nebraska a competitive and attractive place to do business.
More businesses submitted applications in 2010 than any other year since the program was implemented. In addition, we passed a milestone last month when the 250th application was received.
To date, 251 companies have decided to expand or locate in communities across Nebraska using the Nebraska Advantage. These companies are expected to invest $5.67 billion in our state and to create nearly 19,000 jobs, including:
· 33 financial and insurance companies are expanding in Nebraska with capital investments totaling $509 million and plans to create more than new 5,200 jobs.
· the development of 34 bio-medical and renewable fuel projects representing $2.9 billion in capital and accounting for the creation of more than 2,000 new jobs.
· expansions by 60 telecommunications and other business service companies total more than $1.4 billion of investment and will create at least 6,180 jobs, and
· 124 manufacturing and processing companies are planning to invest $840 million and create more than 5,400 jobs.
We've made updates to the Nebraska Advantage to help attract higher-paying job opportunities and allow high-tech companies like web portal and data center operations to qualify for credits. Those changes are helping new and fast growing sectors take root in our state.
Our focus in creating this package was to create opportunities for small and medium sized businesses to expand and position Nebraska to compete more aggressively in the global marketplace. During this time we have become the nation's second largest producer of ethanol and our state economy has become one of the most diverse in comparison to other states due to growth in emerging industries.
We have leveraged our position as a state offering both a good quality of life and a competitive, business-friendly climate. The progress thus far shows the Nebraska Advantage has been an effective tool in helping transform our state and position Nebraska for future growth.