Platte Institute for Economic Research
Category: Community/Economic Development

Your donation will go toward:
The Gift of the Good Life

Organization Profile

Why We’re Here

The economic policies we enact here in Nebraska have real consequences for our daily lives. Nebraska is losing people, income, and investment to other states because of our high tax rates. Job creation has fallen below the national average over the past decade. And our farmers, ranchers, and entrepreneurs face levels of red tape regulation often unheard of across state lines.

In short, these big-government policies create barriers—rather than ladders—to growth and opportunity, putting the Good Life out of reach for too many Nebraskans. 

If we want to advance prosperity and opportunity in our state, we need to remove these barriers and instead implement policies which limit government, promote free enterprise, and encourage and reward personal initiative.

Our Mission

The mission of the Platte Institute is to advance policies that remove barriers to growth and opportunity in Nebraska. The Platte Institute accomplishes its mission by developing in-depth and timely research on the economic issues facing our state, then getting it into the hands of those who need it.

Our Vision

We envision a state where Nebraskans have the freedom and opportunity to achieve their Good Life, Nebraska’s own version of the American Dream.

Our Strategy

We provide intellectual ammunition, developing high-quality research on the economic issues facing Nebraska.

We cultivate a durable network of public support by recruiting, training, and educating Nebraska citizens on important public policy issues and provide them opportunities to become more engaged in the policy-making process.

We leverage strategic partnerships by building issue-based coalitions with professional organizations, nonprofits, and community leaders to promote constructive policy change.

We educate policymakers by ensuring they have access to the resources they need to make sound policy decisions and champion change.

Our Priorities

All across our state, we tell the stories of hardworking Nebraskans who deserve to be freed from unnecessary government barriers to success, and enlist more Nebraskans in support free-market reforms.

A simple, sustainable tax structure that promotes economic growth.
Taxes are inevitable. But not all tax policies have the same impact on economic opportunity. The Platte Institute advocates for tax reforms that collect needed state and local revenue in the least burdensome way. By advocating for reforms to Nebraska’s personal and corporate income taxes, the personal property tax, and the inheritance tax, the Platte Institute seeks to advance an environment that respects hardworking taxpayers and fosters entrepreneurship.

Responsible government that prioritizes spending around core functions and fiscal restraint.
Nebraskans need tools and resources to help them keep an eye on how policymakers manage their budgets. The Platte Institute evaluates the economic impact of fiscal policies and provides the latest information on state and local spending proposals to help taxpayers and citizens engage with their elected officials.

A regulatory environment that protects public safety without stifling innovation and growth.
Red tape is harming the Good Life. Even regulators at the Federal Trade Commission now say that Nebraska has too many unnecessary barriers to economic opportunity. The Platte Institute empowers Nebraskans to identify and combat unnecessary regulations, reduce the barriers to entry for entrepreneurs, and lower the costs associated with hiring and employing workers.

Our Impact

The Platte Institute is a strong and effective voice, providing facts and research to enable high-quality policy that helps free citizens to flourish. Recently, we have:

  • Partnered with the Tax Foundation, the nation’s leading independent tax research organization, to present a comprehensive tax reform plan for Nebraska. The Platte Institute’s continued push for meaningful tax relief helped prepare the Nebraska Legislative for its first floor debate on a major tax relief plan in a generation, which despite a legislative filibuster, won the support of the majority of Nebraska state senators and deepened public demand for a new approach on taxes.

  • Helped remove barriers for Nebraskans working in 9 different careers that were subject to the state’s job licensing laws since 2016, including title examiners, bank officers, car salespeople, audiologists, nurses, school bus drivers, hair braiders, public adjusters, and equine massage practitioners. The Platte Institute has testified in support of legislation or agency reviews to eliminate or streamline job licensing for over 20 of the nearly 200 licensed professions in Nebraska and continues to support a thorough review of all of the state’s licensing policies.

  • Championed transparency and sound fiscal policy in our support of creating a federal funds inventory in Nebraska. With the leadership of Appropriations Committee Chairman Sen. John Stinner of Gering, the Platte Institute helped win strong bipartisan support in the Legislature’s budget-writing committee, and on the floor of the Unicameral, for a proposal to require state agencies to publish publicly-accessible reports on the use of federal grants in Nebraska.

In our Strong Jobs Nebraska campaign, we educate the public about the nearly 200 careers that require a government license in Nebraska and help bring together professionals facing too much red tape in their careers.

The Platte Institute’s research, media, events, and staff reach over 1 million readers, viewers, listeners, and community members across Nebraska each year and has played a key convening role for other groups in the state, encouraging conversation and cooperation to advance shared goals. The Platte Institute will continue to build on its success in the coming years.

Praise for the Platte Institute

Nebraska needs a strong voice in favor of policy solutions that limits government and enables hardworking Nebraskans to achieve the Good Life. If we leave the policymaking and thought leadership in Nebraska up to the same group of people who put us in the position of having high taxes and too much red tape, we’ll never work our way out of it. The Platte Institute provides Nebraskans with a constant reminder that allowing people the freedom to pursue their dreams without government intrusion leads to greater prosperity for all.
Gail Werner Robertson, Board Chair, President of GWR Wealth Management
I serve on the Platte Institute’s board because their mission really resonates with me, as I think it does with many others across the state. As a business owner, the policy solutions that are researched and advanced by the Platte Institute support free enterprise, remove barriers to growth in Nebraska and keep us competitive with other states.
Owen Palm, President and Chief Executive Officer, 21st Century Equipment, LLC
As an entrepreneur, I appreciate the Platte Institute’s work to advance policies that make it easier for me to run my business and continue to create good jobs in my community. An investment in the Platte Institute is an investment in Nebraska’s future.
Doug Keeler, Chief Executive Officer, Keeler & Associates Co.
I always encourage people and businesses to donate to the Platte Institute because they are an invaluable asset to elected officials, especially in the Legislature. The Platte Institute provides the policy research and solutions we need to be effective. We just don’t have the time nor the staff to replicate their efforts.
State Senator Jim Smith, District 20

Project Description

Our need—you

When you become one of the Platte Institute’s philanthropic partners, you invest in the future of Nebraska, helping further the growth and opportunity that will impact our state for generations. No other Nebraska organization is having more direct, concrete impact in fighting for policies that recognize and respect free enterprise, personal responsibility, and limited government than the Platte Institute.

By partnering with the Platte Institute, you will:

  • declare that you believe free market principles should be favored over solutions that advance bigger, more intrusive government.
  • help us provide sound research to policymakers and political candidates alike so they understand the real challenges facing Nebraska—and how to go about tackling them. 
  • encourage over 1 million Nebraskans each year to engage with free market ideas through our public events and social media campaigns, and help bring more balance to newspaper, TV, and radio reports about economic policies.

You can partner with the Platte Institute by making a Donor Club gift of $100, $500, $1,000, $5,000, $10,000—or more, if your means allow. Each club level entitles you to various benefits, including copies of the Platte Institute's quarterly magazine CURRENT and invitations to major events.

We also invite you to sign up to receive electronic communication from the Institute at, and we always appreciate the assistance of anyone who wishes to volunteer to help with our work.