Tax incentive approved for workforce housing construction

Certain cities may use tax increment financing to support the construction of workforce housing under a bill passed by lawmakers April 18.

<a href='http://news.legislature.ne.gov/dist48' target='_blank' title='Link to the website of Sen. John Stinner'>Sen. John Stinner</a>
Sen. John Stinner

As amended on select file, LB496, introduced by Gering Sen. John Stinner, authorizes rural communities—which the bill defines as any municipality in a county with fewer than 100,000 inhabitants—to include the construction of single-family or multi-family housing as part of a redevelopment project eligible for TIF.

The bill also allows the use of TIF to finance workforce housing in areas with high unemployment and poverty rates within cities. It defines workforce housing as owner-occupied housing units that cost no more than $275,000 to build or rental housing units that cost no more than $200,000 to build.

LB496 requires a municipality to conduct a housing study, prepare an incentive plan for the construction of housing meant for new or existing workers and hold a public hearing on the plan. A public hearing on a workforce housing incentive plan must be separate from a public hearing on a TIF redevelopment plan.

After the hearing, the municipality will be required to determine that the plan is necessary to prevent the spread of blight and substandard conditions within the municipality, will promote additional safe and suitable housing for people employed there and will not result in the unjust enrichment of any individual or company.

The bill passed on a vote of 35-8.

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