BISMARCK (AP) - Contributions have exceeded a $20 million state income tax credit cap set by the Legislature to subsidize construction of low-income dwellings in North Dakota, officials said Monday.
The North Dakota Housing Finance Agency's low-income housing development program is aimed largely at the state's booming oil patch and gives individual and business donors a dollar-for-dollar tax credit.
The Legislature last year approved $20 million in tax credits for the program and $15.4 million from the state general fund, which is supported by taxpayers. The deadline to capitalize the fund was through 2014, and its goal was reached a year early.
Agency Director Jolene Kline said about $4 million in contributions were submitted during the last two weeks of 2013 and at least $400,000 in checks had to be returned to donors.
"This shows tremendous support by North Dakota taxpayers," Kline said. "People are interested in addressing the state's housing issue."
North Dakota's robust economy lead by its soaring oil production in the western part of the state has resulted in a shortage of housing, skyrocketing home prices and rental rates that have risen to the level of some of the nation's largest cities.
Kline said the need for affordable housing for seniors and low-income North Dakota residents has swelled well beyond the state's oil-producing areas.
The fund is aimed at 20 projects from Williston in western North Dakota, the hub of the state's oil patch, to Fargo, the state's biggest city in the eastern part of the state.
The Legislature in 2011 approved $15 million in income tax credits to subsidize construction of nearly $105 million in low-income dwellings.
Gov. Jack Dalrymple pushed the expansion of the fund for the current two-year budget cycle. Jeff Zent, a spokesman for Dalrymple, said it's too early to begin mulling another expansion of the fund.
"The governor is going to make that decision based on the latest housing supply information available during the next budget process," Zent said.
During this two-year budget cycle, 448 private investors successfully capitalized the incentive fund, which will leverage more than $150 million in housing construction for 34 projects that contain 934 housing units, Kline said.
The agency said financial institutions and businesses contributed about $14.9 million to the fund by the end of 2013; individuals contributed $5.1 million to the fund.
Four banks and one energy company each made contributions of more than $1 million, records show.