News Release: Nebraska Lags Rivals in New Business Creation, Entrepreneurship

News Release: Nebraska Lags Rivals in New Business Creation, Entrepreneurship

NEWS CONFERENCE CALL with the Platte Institute for Economic Research

Contact: Adam Weinberg
(402) 452-3737

TODAY: Economic Development vs. Economic Growth
Business Growth Numbers Show They’re Not the Same Thing

CORRECTION/UPDATE: An earlier version of this release presented statistics for total new business firm growth as only encompassing small firms. This reference to the chart on business growth (attached) has been corrected below in this release to refer to total new firm growth.

OMAHA, NE (September 14, 2016) – Fewer new businesses are being started in Nebraska than in faster-growing states like Arizona, Colorado, Florida and Texas, and the large amounts of money Nebraska spends on economic development incentives and programs aren’t helping the state catch up.

According to a study by the New York Times, Nebraska spends more per capita on economic development incentives than all but two other states nationally (Alaska and West Virginia). Yet government data show Nebraska ranked below the national average in job and population growth from 2004-2014 and saw more people leave the state than move here from other states since 2000.

“Faster-growing states are getting more bang for the buck by having a welcoming tax policy for everybody, instead of only relying on picking winners and losers in the tax code,” said Jim Vokal, CEO of  the Platte Institute for Economic Research. “The numbers show there is a real difference between policies that pursue economic development and economic growth, as Nebraska is spending more taxpayer money per capita on business incentives and tax carve-outs but falling behind in new business formation, job growth, and population growth,” said Vokal.

Entrepreneurship is essential for economic growth, and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) tracks new business growth in each state. In 2014, the SBA reported that Nebraska saw total new firm growth of over 8 percent, while Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, and Texas saw an average growth of nearly 11 percent. All the states except for Iowa exceeded Nebraska in overall firm growth, while Arizona, Colorado, and Florida surpassed Nebraska in large firm growth.

Here’s how the numbers break down:

A conference call to discuss the release of the Platte Institute’s new report on these figures is scheduled for TODAY, Wednesday, September 14, 2016 at 10:30 a.m. CT. Platte Institute CEO Jim Vokal and Communications Director Adam Weinberg will be available on the call. To call in, dial (605) 475-4000, Access Code: 106202#. The call may be recorded for broadcast and will include Q&A.

The report, Removing Barriers in Nebraska Part Five: Economic Development vs. Economic Growth, is attached in PDF format and is also available in HTML at Previous briefs and a full release schedule may be viewed at

The series is based on research by Dr. Russell S. Sobel, an economist and Professor of Economics and Entrepreneurship at The Citadel.

To arrange an interview about this release, contact Adam Weinberg at (402) 452-3737 or

The Platte Institute for Economic Research advances policies that remove barriers to growth and opportunity in Nebraska. To learn more about our research, view our recent articles, or subscribe to our weekly #PlatteChat column.

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