Tax reform has been a major focus of Gov. Dave Heineman, who signed into law a number of tax relief measures just last month, which he called, ""the largest tax relief package in Nebraska history."
One of the tax reforms is directly aimed at improving the business tax climate, giving businesses the opportunity to spread loses over a 20-year period. The governor has no intention of stopping, stating "We could have done a lot more." He is pushing hard to get the state legislature to drop income tax rates, claiming that those states with low to no income taxes are the strongest economically. Heineman says he will "keep the pressure on" for the cuts he wants, but he is running out of time. Nebraska law mandates a two-consecutive term limit for governors and this year is Heineman's last in office. Tax rates are probably higher than the governor would like.
Here's a look at Nebraska's tax climate:
- Top individual income tax rate: 6.84%
- Top corporate tax rate: 7.81%
- State sales tax: 5.5%
A healthy economy, led by top employer Tyson Foods and the agriculture and food processing industry, has helped to keep unemployment in Nebraska at 3.8 percent, roughly half the national jobless rate.
If Nebraska wants to keep a spot in the Top 5 in years to come, it will need to improve in categories where it continues to score poorly, including Access to Capital and Technology and Innovation. Venture capital dollars have had a hard time flowing to the Midwest as of late.
—By CNBC's Eric Rosenbaum.