Newspapers need your support

Last week brought dire news from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. From 2008 to 2018, newsroom employment in newspapers, radio, broadcast television and cable declined by 25 percent.

Those statistics were part of a Pew Research Center report issued Tuesday — the same day floodwaters rose in Lexington, Elm Creek, Kearney and Gibbon, and area residents were hungry for every shred of information they could get their hands on.

People needed to know if their drinking water was safe, when the power was going to be restored, how to dry out their flooded basements and what to guard against as an army of out-of-town contractors descends for a slice of the action. In the weeks ahead, local media will continue to serve the public's needs.

Please ask yourself: Where would I look for information during this week's flooding and danger if there were no local media?

Without our community's support, we at the Kearney Hub face a tough battle. The last thing we desire is for our readers to one day wake up and discover they're living in a place that's unserved by local journalists.

- Kearney Hub

Retail facing sea change

Nebraska joined 31 other states with laws requiring e-commerce sellers to collect and remit sales tax. Nebraska has had a law on the books for some time requiring consumers to self-report online purchases and pay sales taxes, but few complied.

The state's new law requires remote sellers with annual gross sales of $100,000 or more than 200 separate transactions to collect state sales taxes – for an estimated $30 million to $40 million in revenue. This is a step in the right direction, but more work is needed to effectively establish protocols for the collection and distribution of online sales tax at the local level.

A business located in Nebraska or an out-of-state business meeting the sales volume requirement would charge sales tax at the rate of the purchaser's ship-to location. For Grand Island, that rate would be the state tax of 5.5% plus the 2% local tax (7.5% total).

To truly make the remote sales tax fair and equitable for local merchants and municipalities, local taxes must be collected by the online marketplace seller, and that revenue must be remitted to the local taxing authority.

- Grand Island Independent

Connect students to good jobs

High schools across Nebraska are teaming up with private industry to help train the next generation of workers. This is a vital mission for the state's economy. Nebraska's labor market is tight, and the need to meet the job demands is great.

Consider the job market for auto services technicians given the increasingly computerized nature of modern vehicles. "To meet anticipated demand and respond to attrition," Automotive News recently reported, "the industry will need about 46,000 more technicians by 2026 — a 6% growth rate from 2016." Retirements are a significant factor spurring that job need.

It's encouraging to see the new internship program in which local auto dealers are working with the Avenue Scholars Foundation to provide training in auto and diesel technology. The internships — which also include other types of local industries — provide not only job training but also instruction in professional skills such as punctuality and teamwork.

The more that Nebraska's young people can be trained and introduced to well-paying job opportunities, the greater the benefits for them and the state as a whole. The many efforts across Nebraska to promote this goal deserve a salute.

- Omaha World-Herald

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