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Forum News Service, Published August 21 2013

U.S. Bank contributes $3 million to ND Housing Incentive Fund

BISMARCK - A state fund used to help provide affordable housing for low-and moderate-income families is $3 million richer.

Wednesday, U.S. Bank contributed the largest, single contribution to North Dakota’s Housing Incentive Fund during a check presentation at its Bismarck office, putting the bank’s total contributions to the fund up to $4.2 million since the fund was created.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple called the contribution an “astounding amount.”

“They want money going out to communities and know it will be invested wisely,” Dalrymple said.

Tim Hennessy, regional president of U.S. Bank in Bismarck, said the bank has always seen affordable housing as a priority.

“This is a good way for us to deliver tax dollars to a critical need in North Dakota,” he said. “Finding affordable housing in this state is not an easy task.”

The fund, created by the state Legislature in 2011, relies solely on contributions from taxpayers in exchange for tax credits.

Taxpayers receive a credit against their state income or financial institutions tax equal to their contribution to the fund. The credits are claimed in the tax year that the contribution was made.

The fund is administered by the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency, a public financial institution overseen by the North Dakota Industrial Commission.

U.S. Bank will be able to dictate what projects will receive the funds.

Hennessy said they don’t know which projects the bank will invest in, but they have looked at a list of projects.

The fund started in 2011 with $15 million in tax credits. The 2013 Legislature expanded it to $20 million in tax credits plus $15.4 million in cash.

So far, the fund has collected $4.6 million of the $20 million in tax credits.