Could TIF deals be wasting tax dollars meant for job creation?

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KMOV.com

Posted on January 26, 2011 at 7:47 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 26 at 11:36 PM

(KMOV) – Think about this: Six billion of your tax dollars were supposed to be used to create new jobs in Missouri and Illinois, but there’s very little to show for it.  

Much of the blame is being put on TIFs, or tax increment financing deals, which are supposed to be used to create new development.

Instead, the deals are only moving business from one town to the next, with only a few new jobs created.

For example, when a local Wal-Mart store relocated to Manchester from Town and Country, millions of dollars in TIF financing was offered to develop the Highlands Shopping Center where the new Wal-Mart is located.

Steve Ehlmann is a long time opponent of tax increment financing. He points to plenty of TIF financing where developers got rich off of taxpayer money.

He says it started with St. Louis Centre, then Union Station, then the Galleria and West County Mall.

With TIFs, tax money generated by sales at new developments goes back to the developer for years to offset expenses. But a study by East-West Gateway Council of Governments says that law has been abused.

To read the study, click here.

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