Actions speak louder than words.
It’s a cliché, but it’s been proven time and time again – especially in the world of politics. Promises are made and broken on a whim, even though those promises have implications that last for decades. These empty words are constantly fought, but perhaps most effectively by political action: politics.
New legislation to tackle Nebraska’s brain drain is the first major move after years of simple discussions. If the powerful players in Nebraska really care about its young people, they must encourage this legislation to come to fruition.
Nebraska’s brain drain has been a problem that has circulated the state for some time. Noticed by researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2008, the problem persists. Media sources – including The Nebraskan Daily in 2013 – have been concerned about the matter for years. Young Nebraskans with an advanced education are simply giving up “the good life”.
LB69, presented by Senator Jen Day of Gretna, seeks to tackle this specific problem. The bill of the day recognizes the tension felt by young Nebraskans amid a growing wave of student loans and offers a potential solution. The bill provides employers with tax relief if they help former students pay off their student loans. In addition, 25% of the invoice credits will be reserved for small businesses.
This is a big step in the right direction for the Nebraska legislature. It is reassuring that lawmakers are prepared to look beyond the immediate problems of our world – as urgent and important as they are – to remind us that there will be a future to return to after COVID-19.
The bill of the day would not only be a victory for the future, but also a victory for self-awareness. Nebraska is not an exceptionally lovable state for educated young people. It is a rural area with limited well-paying jobs outside of a few limited urban communities. Lawmakers generally view Nebraska as a country-centric state, and that’s fine. This sentiment appeals to a large section of Nebraskans. But LB69 highlights the dynamic nature of the state and puts Nebraska on a pedestal of variety. Not all Nebraskans are the same, and we should adopt it.
Of course, a single bill does not solve an entire generational problem. As a questionable young Nebraskan myself, there is much more than student debt that causes my dreams to stray elsewhere. As powerful as LB69 can be in finally solving the statewide brain drain problem, it doesn’t erase or even spoil the problem.
This is perfectly normal. LB69 doesn’t have to be a miracle bill because that’s not its best selling point. Importantly, the impact of this bill is not just the physical bill itself, but the concern and compassion that comes with it.
Young Nebraskans want to feel wanted. They want to be taken care of and appreciated by the state that raised them. LB69 is not just a piece of paper marbled with words. It is the act of finally recognizing the simple fact that talented young Nebraskans are needed for this state to prosper.
LB69 is a moderate and well-intentioned step in the right direction that recognizes the struggles of young Nebraskans and the value of their livelihoods as citizens of the state. When the Nebraska State Revenue Committee decides to act on the bill, it must do the right thing.
The committee must allow Nebraska’s brain drain to be tackled with accredited action instead of empty talk fantasy.
Emma Krab is a second major in English and Journalism. Reach her at [email protected].