April 2003      Vol. 12, No. 4  REAP HOME PAGE  A publication of the Center for Rural Affairs    
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Nebraska Legislative Session Update
The midpoint has been reached, and support for microenterprise is intact so far.

The halfway point of the 2003 session of the Legislature has been reached. Committee hearings will now begin to slow. The Appropriations Committee conducted a public hearing on March 12, 2003. Jeff Reynolds, REAP Program Director, attended.

Nebraska lawmakers are bracing for the second half of the session. The Legislature faces a projected $761million budget deficit. Some good news: the Nebraska Microenterprise Development Act funds remain in the budget. This critical funding is budgeted at $250,000 per year for two years.

This Is Effective Funding
Nebraska Microenterprise Development Act funds are used by Nebraska-based programs to provide loans, training, and technical assistance to business with five or fewer employees. This represents the overall majority of Nebraskaís businesses. See http://crd.neded.org/micro_annual.html to check out data and statistics on the significant impacts of this funding.

REAP continues to advocate for this funding in collaboration with the Centerís Rural Policy Program and the Nebraska Enterprise Opportunity Network (NEON). NEON is the trade association in Nebraska for microenterprise programs and offers policy and training opportunities for microenterprise programs and practitioners. A complete list of microenterprise service providers in Nebraska can be found at http://neon.neded.org.

REAP Members Most Influential
It is clear that REAP members and other beneficiaries of microenterprise programming carry the greatest voice in advocating for this critical funding. Please contact Jeff Reynolds or your area REAP Business Specialist if you would like to become involved in advocating for microenterprise small business development in Nebraska.

Your personal story about your business and how REAP was able to help is the best form of advocacy. We can also provide you with key statewide statistics for use in communicating with your Senator.

Microenterprise development is a core service in Nebraska. The fact that these funds are still intact shows the importance and belief in this work by our Governor, Legislature, and Department of Economic Development.

 Contact: Jeff Reynolds, REAP Program Director, at 402.656.3091 or jeffr@alltel.net.
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