Experts: Nebraska Should Look Deeper at Incentives

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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- Two tax policy experts say Nebraska needs to look beyond jobs and wages when studying whether the state's tax incentives actually work.

Experts from the Pew Charitable Trusts told lawmakers Thursday that tax incentives may help some industries add jobs, while doing little to benefit others.

Pew policy director Robert Zahradnik says tax breaks for certain industries, such as retail, may only displace existing workers because they aren't likely to attract out-of-state residents.

Zahradnik says lawmakers should also ask whether demand is growing in the targeted industry, whether targeted businesses are likely to export their goods and services, and whether they need the incentive to expand.

The Legislature's Performance Audit Committee is looking at ways to evaluate Nebraska's tax incentive programs.