Nebraska’s economy is middle-of-the-pack with significant challenges to future growth, according to the annual ‘Rich States, Poor States’ report produced by former Reagan adviser Dr. Art Laffer and economists Stephen Moore and Jonathan Williams.
While Nebraska has suffered the national economic crisis relatively better than most states; we consistently reported lower unemployment, home foreclosures and bankruptcies than the national average. Nebraska still did not produce strong economic results in the three components looked at in this report: State Gross Domestic Product, Domestic Migration and Non-farm Payroll Employment.
The results found that Nebraska has a strong Ag-based economy, but removing that sector from Nebraska’s SGDP (State Gross Domestic Product) and our state’s economic growth was nominal. And Nebraska still suffers from net migration losses; as a state we are still losing population, which according to this study’s authors is a significant economic red flag.
The report also indicates Nebraska’s future economic outlook is cause for concern. “Rich States, Poor States’ found that states with net migration gains and economic prosperity have low tax and regulatory burdens and low per-capita citizen-to-government employee ratios. Nebraska, unfortunately, still maintains a high tax and regulatory burden and has one of the highest per-capita government employee populations (ranked 46th with 656 government employees per 10,000 residents) in the nation.
Nebraska scores less-than-competitive economic outlook due to our high tax climate. Our state personal and corporate tax rates rank 30th and 29th, respectively. Our property tax burden ranks 34th, meaning only 16 states in the nation have a higher property tax burden than Nebraska. And Nebraska is one of the few states to continue to impose a Death Tax.
If Nebraska wants to grow our economy and attract new residents, we must address these barriers to prosperity.