15 Minute Advocate: TIF Tool for Local Workforce Housing Shortage

A League-sponsored bill to allow cities to create an economic development TIF district for workforce housing will be heard on March 13.
(Published Mar 10, 2014)

1. Get Informed.
The bipartisan workforce housing bill (HF 2739/SF 2396), authored by Rep. Dan Fabian (R-Roseau) and Sen. Leroy Stumpf (DFL-Plummer), would give cities the authority to create a new workforce housing tax increment financing (TIF) district for qualified cities with workforce housing needs.

The basic workforce housing TIF district would be a type of economic development TIF district, not a housing TIF district. This limits the duration of the TIF district to nine years, but eliminates the affordable housing income restrictions, allowing for financing of market-rate homes. Qualifying cities would have:

  • Relatively low unemployment.
  • A small available labor pool unable to accommodate significant job growth.*
  • A low vacancy rate.
  • An existing employer that indicates that the lack of adequate housing prevents it from hiring new employees.

*Cities with colleges and universities are treated differently because large student populations can skew labor pool data.

The bill also creates a second type of workforce housing TIF district for communities with chronic workforce housing problems. In addition to meeting the base criteria above, these cities must have a minimum population of 1,500, be located outside of the seven-county metropolitan area, and have had five or fewer market-rate housing unit starts per 1,000 residents in each of the last 10 years. Communities meeting this definition could establish a workforce housing TIF district with a 25-year duration.

2. Take Action.
City officials are strongly encouraged to contact their senators and representatives as soon as possible to support the passage of HF 2739/SF 2396. The bill will be heard by the Senate Taxes Committee on March 13 (this Thursday).

When communicating with your legislators, share your city’s workforce housing needs, how your city could possibly benefit from an additional tool to meet the shortage of workforce housing, and any potential interest from businesses in your community that would expand if more housing were available.

The League has been working closely with cities facing workforce housing shortages, including Roseau, Worthington, Perham, and Duluth, to create a targeted financing tool to help close the financing gaps for new housing projects. (See LE-30: Workforce Housing in the LMC 2014 City Polices (pdf) on page 61.) If your city could benefit from this tool, please contact Patrick or Heather at the information on the right.

3. Stay Involved.

Stay tuned to League resources for more information:

  • Subscribe to the League’s Capitol Updates email alerts for the latest information on this and other legislative issues.
  • Follow @pjhynes2 and @hrceder on Twitter for updates on this bill as it moves through the legislative process.
  • Follow #lmcleg on Twitter to stay in touch with the latest legislative action on this issue.
  • Contact the League with questions or feedback that you may get from your legislators.

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