An effort to expand Tax Increment Financing to help meet the rural Nebraska housing shortage fell just short of the votes needed to clear a filibuster, with supporters vowing to bring the measure back next year.
Rural Nebraska officials say a lack of housing hampers economic development. Yet, an effort to expand TIF to help finance rural housing construction couldn’t overcome opponents who held just enough votes to block the advancement of LB 496.
Sen. Curt Friesen of Henderson said during legislative floor debate he has only recently warmed to the idea of using TIF to finance the construction of sewers and streets.
“So, I have warmed up to the idea of using that to put in infrastructure, but now we’re taking it one step further and we’re starting to subsidize the building itself and that’s where I think we take the wrong direction,” Friesen told colleagues.
Some opponents made much harsher statements. A few accused unscrupulous builders of abusing TIF to line their own pockets.
The charge brought a response from LB 496 sponsor, Sen. John Stinner of Gering.
“It really saddens me to hear some of the commentary on and perversion of facts and figures about TIF, about what we’re trying to get done here, about growing Nebraska,” Stinner stated.
The issue created an unusual split in the rural delegation, enough of a split for the filibuster to hold and keep the bill from advancing.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]