House Bill 1141, The LIFT Program
The Innovation Technology Loan Fund (LIFT) was created with economic diversification in mind. Born in the 2019 Legislative Session, this gap funding program was to respond to financing needs and provide funding for companies that would further diversify our state's economy. The loan outcomes include attracting businesses, assisting entrepreneurs, providing gap funding, and creating wealth and economic opportunity. The fund was exhausted in 8 months and has returned to the legislators to re-secure an appropriation, which is HB 1141.
GNDC stands in full support of this bill as it supports and enhances the business climate of our state. This is a strategic investment and has been well supported by a majority of legislators.
Currently, the bill has been rereferred to Senate Appropriations for review and work. Below is the result of the full House Floor Vote.CHAMBER CHAMPION
SENATOR SHAWN VEDAA
Chair of the Senate Government and Veterans Affairs Committee, Sen. Vedaa spoke on the Senate Floor about the amendment to HB 1141, increasing the appropriation from $15 Million to $30 Million. GNDC appreciated his thoughts and the work of his committee who put forth the amendment due to the value of the program and the return on investment that was demonstrated in 2020.
"Mr. President, the amendment for the LIFT Bill, HB 1141, was heard by your Senate GBA with a 7-0 do pass.
Mr. President, the strategic investment and improvement fund will transfer $15 million of the innovation loan fund to support technology through the LIFT fund. Mr. President, we heard testimony that $15 million was invested in about 20 companies and 8 months of 2020. There was $60 million in funded applications, indicating the strong demand for this kind of gap funding. We had written testimony of a company that was receiving these funds to make pasta of 100% whole wheat flour at the North Dakota State Mill. These pastas are in 26 major grocery markets and numerous restaurants in the tri-state area. Another success story is from a biotech company that moved to Horace, North Dakota. They claimed without the gap funding the move to our state would never have happened.
Mr. President, the Greater North Dakota Chamber testified that the $15 million invested has resulted in 748 new jobs with the projection of $92 million to the state's gross domestic product and $151 million in economic impact. Mr. President, this fund is an opportunity not only to our state but our businesses and workforce. This is not just a loan program but an economic benefit tool. The amendment is to change $15 million to $30 million."