Wednesday, February 24, 2016
TIF Districts: A Generation Of Wealth Confiscation And Broken Memes
When you see or hear the term “TIF District,” think of generational theft but on a local scale where it will effect your pocketbook directly.
Because today’s TIF District tool, deformed by state legislatures, allows local authorities to carve out the area in your town that shows the best potential to produce higher property tax revenue and legally hand that new top growth in revenue over to wealthy developers, corporations and city hall insiders before they make any commitment to invest.
This is an annual withdrawal that can, in some cases, continue on for as many as 27 years. In the meantime, the cost of city services, facility maintenance and the public payroll including the cost to service the added new growth are however left to be funded by a tax assessment pool (baseline) frozen years earlier.
What this means is your mayor (if you’re fortunate enough to have one) or your city council will begin to complain that they can’t balance the budget without new taxes, new fees, tax increases OR dramatic cuts in services, amenities and payroll. Again, those complaints and demands will go on every year or so for the generational life term of the TIF District agreements.
Beyond the confiscated revenue, possibly the next troubling aspect of this in Janesville are the claims made by wealthy developers and corporations about how the city’s schools, parks, library and other amenities are what “lured” them to Janesville, all the while they confiscate the revenue - revenue absolutely necessary to maintain that higher standard of living - before they make any commitment to the city. It’s truly a mind boggling circular meme that borders on fraud.
The bottom line is; the oligarchs want it all and if you refuse to accept higher tax obligations to support their rigged system of wealth confiscation, the local establishment echo chambers will blame you for the local economy's “death spiral.” I guarantee it.
NOTE: This author is an advocate of the TIF District concept, but only when it is employed to rejuvenate helplessly abandoned industrial corridors, localized blight or to encourage development over brown fields.
Posted by Lou Kaye at 2:45 PM