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Nebraska Passport boosts whole state

The tourism economy brings major benefits to Nebraska communities — some $3.4 billion in economic impact in 2018.

All those visits to festivals, rodeos, museums, restaurants and hotels sustained more than 40,000 jobs with total earnings of $750 million. For 10 years, the Nebraska Passport program has stimulated such visits across the state, and the 2019 numbers are encouraging.

At each stop, visitors collect a free Passport stamp and vie for prizes. This year, visitors took in some 154,755 stamps at 70 tourism sites across the state. Participants came from 448 Nebraska communities and 37 states. The number of Nebraska Passport accounts via its software app was up 22.5% from 2018.

It's especially positive that the economic benefits from Nebraska tourism extend across the state to communities large and small. The Nebraska Tourism Commission enhances the appeal by packaging the Passport program in itineraries focusing on particular interests, such as outdoor recreation, food, shopping and Nebraska history.The Nebraska Passport program is a win all around, for visitors, businesses and communities.

- Omaha World-Herald


Strong economies need child care

With Nebraska's unemployment rate consistently tracking at 3 percent and lower, there are precious few people to fill the thousands of jobs available in our state. Nebraska's lack of an adequate workforce is holding back our state.

Finding good, nurturing care for their children is one of the largest challenges facing young couples, many of whom would be two-paycheck families if they had the choice.

Communities that can provide child care and early childhood education help young couples solve a huge challenge. If the kids can be cared for, the community gains two people for the workforce, not just one because a parent must stay home with the children.

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When young parents know the community they're considering as their next home can help care for and educate their children, it's a big plus.

Imagine attracting young families to our communities and then keeping them here. That's what Nebraska always has been about — a great place to raise a family. Today, if we can provide care and education, young parents will be raising their families here — and helping to grow our state.

- Kearney Hub


Half-cent can fix infrastructure

The word "tax" inevitably was linked to North Platte's infrastructure needs when the city put its fix-it list before voters a year ago.

If tourists or truckers use the things we need to fix — and if we're actually as averse to property taxes as we say we are — it'll be cheaper for us to fix them if visitors chip in when they eat, sleep and buy things here.

Our community needs to keep that concept in the forefront as we decide together how to tackle the big-ticket fix-its. And if we want property taxes kept down, we haven't helped ourselves in the past by waiting until the city has had to issue bonds — which fall outside state tax lids — to replace aging concrete and asphalt only when it falls apart.

No, a half-cent infrastructure tax can't fix everything. The last proposal was estimated to generate $2.5 million a year over 10 years had it passed.

It's not "the" solution. We said you wouldn't find that here. But it can be part of the puzzle.

- North Platte Telegraph

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