There is a lot of speculation over Monday’s announcement that Missouri based Bass Pro Shops purchased Cabela’s based in Sidney.
Even Gov. Pete Ricketts released a statement that the Departments of Economic Development and Labor are ready to assist residents and communities find new opportunities.
Jim Vokal is the Executive Director for the Platte Institute for Economic Research and says Nebraska needs to make some major changes to attract and develop new businesses.
Vokal says, “We can’t depend upon one big fish in communities as in Sidney’s so from a Platte Institute perspective on what other growing states are doing – they are orienting their strategy on setting up an environment for successful small business. Let’s remember that Cabela’s was a small business at one point. We’ve got to look at creating a more favorable tax structure. Creating a more favorable regulation and occupational licensing structure so people can go out there and start their own businesses and then we can attract some of those larger companies with a better tax structure.”
Vokal says in his discussions with Nebraska businesses, the number one concern is taxes. That is followed by finding qualified workers. He says our education system is reflective of the skills that employers are wanting. That includes training students in trade skills and that our education system is oriented in that.
About 2,000 Nebraskans work at the Sidney location and another 500 in Lincoln at their credit card division. Bass Pro Shop officials say they are committed to maintaining those two bases of operation. There are three Cabela’s stores in Nebraska – in Sidney, Kearney and La Vista.