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State Representative Bob Gunther

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Posted: Mar 27 2014 3:29PM
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PRESS RELEASE

REP. GUNTHER CO-AUTHORS NEEDED WORKFORCE HOUSING PROPOSAL


ST. PAUL – In an effort to ease the workforce housing crunch that exists in southwestern Minnesota, State Representative Bob Gunther (R-Fairmont) is authoring legislation that would benefit communities and workers who need a place to live.

“One of the top complaints I hear from manufacturing companies is the lack of affordable housing that’s available for their workforce,” Gunther said. “Not everyone can afford to buy or build a home when they move to town, and low housing availability is one of the reasons large employers are having difficulties attracting workers to our communities. We need to find ways to address the housing availability issue.”

Gunther’s bill would allow a city to create an economic development Tax Increment Financing district, and the increment revenue would be used to build workforce housing. The district would be located outside of the 7 county metro area and could only be utilized by cities having more than 1,500 residents.

Participating communities would also need to show that the rental housing vacancy rate in the city or within 15 miles of it is at less than five percent over the last two years, and at least one business in the city or within 15 miles has provided a written statement saying the lack of rental housing is harming its ability to hire.

Gunther said the proposal has no cost implications to the state.

“It gives our rural cities the chance to invest in their future and provide needed affordable housing for incoming workers,” Gunther concluded.

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