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Mike Jacobson

Sen. Mike Jacobson

District 42

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As Wayne Gretzky famously said, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” Lawmakers often have two tasks: address the problems before us now, and attempt to avoid the problems of tomorrow. One of the greatest challenges facing District 42 and our larger region is the lack of quality affordable housing. Unfortunately, there is not a quick and easy fix, and I want to work with my fellow state senators to create a long-term vision for the future.

As we come out of the pandemic, Nebraska is fortunate to have a strong economic position. However, we are not insulated from the impact of the continuing supply chain shortages, worker shortages and the growing cost of virtually everything as inflation continues at a record pace. Couple this with rising interest rates, and the cost of housing is growing out of reach to new buyers.

Two years ago, a lot and basic three-bedroom home would have cost approximately $275,000 to build in North Platte with an interest rate of approximately 2.75% for a 30-year mortgage. Today, that same home would cost approximately $325,000 and the interest rate would be closer to 5.25%. If a borrower contributed a minimum down payment of 5%, the monthly payment would consist of a monthly principal and interest payment, insurance and real estate taxes. Two years ago, our hypothetical home would have a monthly payment of about $1,719.91. Today, the monthly payment is up to $2,422.56.

Increased monthly payments mean buyers must earn more. For the same home, the annual income necessary to qualify for the loan made a year ago would need to be around $56,571.00. The annual income necessary to qualify for the same house today would be approximately $80,571.00. And the cost of housing is still rising and so are interest rates.

The Legislature passed two bills this year designed to start making new and remodeled housing more affordable. First LB 1069 extended the Rural Workforce Housing Investment Act through fiscal year 2026-27 and increased the maximum price for a qualifying grant from $275,000 to $325,000 for new owner-occupied housing and from $200,000 to $250,000 per unit of rental housing. LB 1069 also decreased the match requirement from one to one-half the amount of a workforce housing grant award. This grant program allows political subdivisions and nonprofit development organizations to build out rural housing at lower costs.

Second, I co-sponsored LB 1065 with Sen. Justin Wayne to improve the micro-TIF legislation first introduced by Sen. Mike Groene. The bill allows for property tax rebates for homeowners increasing the value of a home that has been within city limits for more than 60 years through home improvements, including demolition and reconstruction on the same site. The bill also increases the length of time the rebates can be awarded from 10 to 15 years, aligning micro-TIF with the original TIF program. Finally, LB 1065 allows for expedited approval and increases the allowable maximum assessed values.

I am proud to have supported the passage of both LB 1068 and LB 1065. These bills are part of an ongoing conversation needed to address a challenge plaguing Nebraska communities, big and small.

District 42 has many exciting economic development opportunities ahead. Sustainable Beef and the industrial rail park are expected to bring huge job growth, and affordable housing will be essential to support the new labor force. Workers will likely locate within a 50-mile radius of North Platte and communities prepared with affordable housing options will be able to recruit new families.

Now is the time to plan for the 2023 legislative session! If you have ideas to help make housing more affordable in District 42, please reach out. I appreciate the opportunity to serve as your District 42 state senator.

Contact Sen. Mike Jacobson: mjacobson@leg.ne.gov or 402-471-2729.

Sen. Mike Jacobson

District 42
Room 1302
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2729
Email: mjacobson@leg.ne.gov
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