Time to end TIF?

By the 1970s, central cities were in the second decade of a steep decline. Suburban shopping malls were sucking the life out of downtown and neighborhood retail centers. White flight was in full swing. And soon even manufacturing jobs would start to bleed away.

One policy wonk’s answer to fight the trend was called tax incremental financing. It was first used in California in the 1950s and adopted in Wisconsin in 1975.

The basic idea was simple. A city would borrow money to fix up a blighted urban neighborhood. Maybe they’d put in new streetlights and sidewalks, repave the streets or add new trees or amenities like public benches. When these kinds of infrastructure improvements resulted in new businesses and homes coming into the area, the tax base would go up. And the city could use the extra revenue to pay back the borrowing...


Ken Notes: A MUST read! Dave is great a stirring the pot but once again and simple answers and sound bites are NOT the answer. We need to recreate the TIF laws to align the law with the actual practice, but keep reading.

This is not a blight issue and has not been for 30 years. Corn fields are not blighted. Also smart leaders use a project that may not need TIF to drive other projects and growth, actually a brilliant move but again not the intended use. Good projects use TIF to fill an actual gap in the project and can be used to get an individual project where you want it, again not in the law but very useful.

Communities are proud of how they have manipulated TIF laws to serve their needs. We negotiate with the schools and other parties, not in the law. We rely on the lack of any enforcement in the law. We rob Peter to pay Paul actually written into the law AFTER everyone did it anyway. We lobbied for extensions and rewrites, we confuse the public, and we target the growth we want.

I can not believe Dave is asking the question, he knows damn well it is the only tool in our box and even though it is a hammer we use it to paint, drive screws, and everything else.

Should the law align with how we use it? Yes but do we trust the legislature to get it even close to right - Of course not...

- - Volume: 7 - WEEK: 6 Date: 2/7/2019 9:38:03 AM -