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  • Legislative Interim Study Testimony

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    Last week, along with several other community economic developers, I testified before the Urban Affairs Committee as part of their two Interim Studies, LR-152 and LR-155. 
    LR-152 sought comment and suggestions related to LB-840, which is our Quality Growth Fund.  In my suggestions, I drew attention to the wide spread housing shortages facing dozens of Nebraska communities, and how LB-840 is pretty limited when used for housing.  Current language requires that if LB-840 funds are to be used the recipient must meet Low to Moderate Income (LMI) status.  How that status is determined isn’t clear.  There are several LMI formulas in use depending on the agency.
    Many communities need help in developing what we call workforce housing; housing for people with good jobs and good incomes.  Nearly all housing specific programs such as tax credit and Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) have LMI components.

    LR-155 dealt with other economic development tools, especially, Tax Increment Financing (TIF).  In my comments, I noted that TIF made our Wal-Mart Distribution Center and all the related secondary development possible.  Were it not for TIF, all those jobs and development would be in Colorado.
    I suggested that the senators consider a Kansas program that is basically TIF without the negative “blighted and substandard” study requirement.  The Kansas program uses the same reassignment of property taxes as our TIF program uses, but omits the blight requirements and is for all communities smaller than 60,000.  That would be a perfect fit for Nebraska.
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