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life in rural nebraska


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I’m broadcasting from beautiful Lincoln, Nebraska today.  On tap:  testimony to the legislative special session regarding funding for microlending programs.  Microlending is like all government supported programs – not immune from the budget shortfall.  You can download my testimony here.

I’ll be arguing to support funding for rural micro-enterprise programs that provide direct assistance to small businesses and technical assistance to rural communities.  Why?  It’s produced results:

I fully understand the need for fiscal restraint in this difficult budget period. But now during this economic recession, the last thing we can afford is to cut the legs out from under the systems that provide assistance and financing for small business development. As a state, we need a plethora of resources to stimulate economic growth. For small business development, those resources include loans, technical assistance and training for micro businesses. Professionals engaged in microenterprise development will be the first to tell you that a recession is great for entrepreneurship, especially for workers that are displaced in the workforce. Existing businesses are seeking new sources of loan capital due to a tightening credit market. And the need for technical assistance in market development has increased due to the weakness in the broader economy. These trends are expected to continue into the future.

Rural microlending was cut in 2009 by 66%.  What is frustrating is that rural microlending works.  Cutting a program that works is exactly what we’re *not* supposed to do in good governance.  Instead, we’ll see across the board cuts.  What is wrong with eliminating programs that don’t work and keeping those that do?

We’ve  going to track this effort using the Unicam Update.  Expect to find great material on the goings-on of the Nebraska Legislature.  If you have interest in how funding will be cut for state programs, give it a look.

A big thanks to Rose Jasperson for assisting in the testimony.  I truly hope it has an impact on deliberations.

A final note:  this is one of many programmatic funding reductions for rural communities.  Expect this trend to continue as the population base shifts eastward.  State aid to schools will be part of this battle.  I would suggest we rural Nebraskans pay attention to these trends.


Written by Caleb

November 9, 2009 at 3:49 pm

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