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This week we started committee hearings in the afternoons. We debated non-prioritized bills on General File that we did not debate last session.
The hearing for my bill, LB879 which would eliminate funding for the Nebraska Advantage Microenterprise Tax Credit Act and change the termination date for applications. The bill will sunset a program that is not used very much and provide funding to expand the Business Innovation Act.
This past Fall, one of my constituents, Annie Crimmins, invited me to an Invest Nebraska networking event. Annie and her husband are co-founders of a startup called CanaryBox. CanaryBox integrates music with data to help reduce the risk of distraction in the operating room and provides alerts when a critical event happens. CanaryBox received funding from Invest Nebraska through the Business Innovation Act and Annie shared their story with me. Her enthusiasm inspired me to learn more about Invest Nebraska and tour a couple of startup businesses that have received funding. All of the companies have inspirational stories to share. The companies have worked to recruit, plan to recruit Nebraskans or have helped draw employees from other states to live in Nebraska. One of my favorite stories has come out of a company called Matma here in Lincoln. Matma was able to recruit an employee to move from New Jersey and she was able to convince her parents and her sister to eventually move to Nebraska.
According to a University of Nebraska-Lincoln study, the overall economic impact from the startups was $ 284.3 million a year and the state has only invested $19.9 million in the program since 2012. This is a great return on our investment as a state. Invest Nebraska conducts it’s due diligence on each company to decide if they will move the company forward in the investment process.
These companies are creating high wage jobs in areas where there may not be the opportunity for students to stay in Nebraska. Invest Nebraska ran out of funding in November of last year and I believe that the extra funding would be very helpful in decreasing the brain drain and also will encourage others to move to Nebraska.
As always, feel free to contact my office. My office phone number is 402-471-2731 and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.