Our state is receiving national attention for the sound and responsible fiscal policies that have put Nebraska in better shape than most of America. Our numbers and rankings are a strong indication that we are on the right track. Nebraska has the second lowest unemployment rate in America at 4.1%.
What are we doing well? Nebraska has been recognized with these rankings:
2nd Best Employment Leader by Business Facilities Magazine's 2011 Rankings Report
3rd Least Financially Distressed State by Pollina Corporate Real Estate in 2011
3rd Best Quality of Life by Business Facilities Magazine
3rd Best State for Jobs by MSN and CareerBuilder.com for 2011
3rd Best Pro-Business Legal Climate by U.S Chamber's Institute for Legal Reform in 2010
5th Workforce Training Leader by Business Facilities Magazine
5th Best Pro-Business State by Pollina Corporate Real Estate in 2011
9th Best State for Business & Careers by Forbes.com in 2010
10th in America's Top State for Business in CNBC's 2011 Special Report.
Omaha is #1 Most Affordable City by Forbes, #1 Best Value City by Kiplinger Magazine,
and 2nd Best City for Business by MarketWatch. Lincoln has the second lowest unemployment rate of the nation's 327 metropolitan areas and was ranked #1 as America's Best City for New Jobs according to Forbes. It was also ranked 2nd U.S. City for Quality of Life by Gallup-Health ways Well-Being Index, and Lincoln has the 4th Lowest Cost of Doing Business according to Milken Institute. Kearney is one of the best small cities for startups according to Business Week. Papillion is 5th in 100 Best Places to Live by CNN Money and Columbus is 84th in the same study.
There are many reasons for Nebraska's success. We've modernized our economic incentive programs -- The Nebraska Advantage. We've lowered taxes. We've controlled spending and we've invested in education and jobs.
The Nebraska Advantage was designed to spotlight the state as a preferred location for starting and growing businesses, and it's working. A recap shows that 263 applications were filed from 2006 through this past June. These companies will be investing $5.8 billion in our economy and creating more than 19,000 new jobs. An industry-by-industry view reveals that 36 were bio-medical or renewable fuels projects, 63 were telecommunications or other services projects, 131 were manufacturing or processing projects, and 33 were financial or insurance services. The projects are all across Nebraska.
Additionally, a 2010 Battelle Innovation study conducted through the Nebraska Department of Economic Development found that while our state is fundamentally strong economically, there are areas in which we could make improvements
That's why I proposed the Talent and Innovation Initiative that the Legislature passed during its recent session. There are four parts to the initiative.
The Nebraska Internship Program creates new internship opportunities for 500 to 750 college and university students to gain job experience working with companies across the state. The Business Innovation Act provides funding to help businesses develop new technologies that lead to quality job opportunities across our state. A new Site and Building Development fund will help increase industrial and commercial sites available and ready for business development. Finally, the Angel Investment Tax Credit encourages investment in high-tech and other startup Nebraska enterprises by helping attract private funding sources beginning with the current tax year. Eligible small businesses must have fewer than 25 employees.
Nebraska is on the move and we want to continue this momentum ensuring we do even better in the future.