Changes to downsizing assistance advanced

Senators gave first-round approval May 26 to a bill that would make changes to funds intended to mitigate the impact of economic downsizing.

LB457, introduced by Grand Island Sen. Mike Gloor, would terminate the Industrial Recovery Fund. Gloor said the fund was started in 2012 with two one-year transfers of $1 million from the Nebraska Affordable Housing Trust Fund (NAHTF) that had been recaptured from housing projects. No municipalities applied for those funds, he said, and they remain unused.

“This bill was brought to me by the Department of Economic Development to transfer funds from a program that has not been used since its inception,” Gloor said.

LB457 would terminate the Industrial Recovery Fund. Existing funds would be transferred to the Site and Building Development Fund. Projects that were eligible under the Industrial Recovery Fund—those that mitigate the economic impact of a closure or downsizing of a private-sector entity by making necessary improvements to building and infrastructure—would be eligible under the existing fund.

A Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee amendment, adopted 40-0, altered the distribution of funds to allocate 50 percent to the Site and Building Development Fund and 50 percent to the NAHTF.

The bill advanced to select file on a 40-0 vote.

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