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Governor's Letter

Dear Friends:
Thank you for your continued involvement in the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce & Industry and in your local communities. The commitment of so many individuals in communities all across the state is what makes Nebraska the best place in the world to live, work, and raise a family.

My goal is to grow Nebraska.

To realize this goal, one area of focus has been to expand opportunities for Nebraska products and services. We have put a renewed focus on domestic and foreign trade missions, which has resulted in millions of dollars of agreements for purchase of Nebraska commodities, as well as expansions in existing manufacturing operations in the Cornhusker State. Meeting personally with investors and trading partners provides an opportunity to bolster new opportunities abroad and create jobs here at home.

My administration is focused on running government like a business to achieve this goal. For example, we developed the first-in-the-nation Reemployment Program at the Department of Labor to connect job seekers with good-paying jobs. Individuals receiving unemployment benefits must now participate in the program, which includes job coaching and creating a resume that is searchable by employers. After a year of application, unemployment claims are down $14.77 million from the year before and more people are earning a living.

Additionally, my chief information officer announced over $5.3 million in savings gained by centralizing IT services for 90 counties and five Nebraska agencies. The Department of Roads has streamlined its operations and is passing along $2.59 million annually in savings to counties and cities for their road projects. We continue to make improvements at the Department of Environmental Quality including putting permit applications online, dramatically reducing the time to issue a permit from weeks or months to days. In the Department of Health and Human Services, we prevented the loss of $17 million a year in federal funds by vastly improving the processing of food stamp applications through ACCESSNebraska.

We know that a critical factor in growing Nebraska is fostering an environment for people and businesses to flourish. That means continually looking for ways to ease the tax burden and reduce government spending. My first biennial budget cut the growth of state government spending by nearly half, from 6.5 percent to 3.6 percent, and paved the way for $408 million in tax relief for Nebraska property owners through the Property Tax Credit Relief Fund.

This budget cycle, we are facing a significant decrease in projected revenue. As factors that contribute to this reality started showing up, my administration immediately made adjustments and started exercising additional spending restraint. My budget team works hard every day to identify ways to reduce spending and address the revenue downturn so we can hold the line on taxes during this budget cycle and achieve tax relief in the future.

Nebraska’s business leaders and strong business climate contribute to our state’s outstanding quality of life. I look forward to working with each of you to keep our focus on policies that will grow Nebraska now and into the future.

Thank you for your continued investment in our great state.

Sincerely,

Pete Ricketts
Governor

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