Dear Fellow Nebraskans:
We are focused on improving business and creating jobs in our state. Providing a quality education for our young people is an essential part of this mission, and we must have high-quality jobs that will keep our best and brightest here in Nebraska.
Businesses locating in Nebraska are impressed with the dedicated employees they find here, the significant support they receive from local business, government and civic leaders in cooperation with state and federal officials, and the overall welcoming atmosphere.
More specifically, business leaders find a can-do attitude and a willingness to make business work coupled with a strong work ethic that they don't always find in other locations. They also note that in Nebraska, companies find less obstacles to starting their business and that no obstacle is too great to surmount.
There are many advantages to doing business in Nebraska. One of our strongest selling points is our ideal central United States location. Being centrally located in the U.S. expedites product shipment and delivery. Nebraska also offers quality jobs, an outstanding workforce, an excellent education system, safe communities, affordable homes, a low cost of living, and a special environment in which to raise families and grow businesses.
In 2005, I worked with legislative leaders to craft a comprehensive update to Nebraska's business incentives known as the Nebraska Advantage Act. Since taking effect in January 2006, we have updated and improved the Nebraska Advantage several times to ensure that Nebraska stays highly competitive among today's global, technology-driven free market economy.
I am pleased to report that since its beginning, we have received more than 450 applications representing nearly $10.9 billion in investment and more than 28,000 jobs with companies applying for one of six tiers that best meets their specific needs.
The most recent change made to the Nebraska Advantage Act enabled companies with qualifying projects to receive partial or full refunds of sales taxes based on their level of investment, source of capital investment, and level of Nebraska residents' company ownership in the project.
With our sights set on Nebraska's future, we're always looking for ways to keep and make Nebraska more competitive. Our constant pursuit of a comprehensive package of business-friendly incentives has resulted in a net population growth exceeding the national for several years now.
We are recruiting and expanding businesses from around the world. The most recent example is the announcement of Texas-based Tejas Tubular, a primary supplier to oil and gas producers throughout the Rocky Mountain region, to locate in Norfolk.
This effort was a successful partnership with the private and public sector both involved. As an example, securing additional natural gas capacity to Norfolk was paramount to the success of the project. Black Hills Energy worked with Norfolk to ensure that Tejas Tubular gets the natural gas supply it needs, by adding a new natural gas line to increase reliability and supply to northeast Nebraska.
The result is a new approximately 50 mile-long Northeast Nebraska line that will increase the natural gas supply by more than 50 percent and connect to Northern Natural Gas Company's interstate pipeline. This will allow northeast Nebraska to receive gas from multiple interstate gas lines.
In Nebraska, we remain committed to working together to grow jobs for our citizens and welcoming new businesses and families to join us in the good life.