Poorly-targeted incentives shouldn't be in CoMo's economic development "toolbox"
COLUMBIA, 1/26/13 (Op Ed) --
To say that Columbia has had any success with TIFs -- even limited success -- is a huge overstatement.
But that's the conclusion of a Columbia Missourian story today
that asked 5th Ward City Council candidates how they viewed increasingly controversial incentives. From the failure of MAMTEK to the blight/EEZ disaster, none of the three office seekers seems to have been paying sufficient attention to the problems incentives create. To a person, they support incentives, albeit to different extents.
TIF -- tax increment financing that freezes property tax increases -- was held up as at least a partial success, which simply doesn't ring true, as this October 2012 investigation in Finance and Commerce magazine suggests. Lack of oversight
-- certainly true of Columbia's TIFs -- seems to be the biggest problem in other communities, too.
As the Missourian article noted, the first TIF -- an Odle project -- never took flight. The second TIF -- the Double Tree hotel near the new Short Street garage -- isn't nearly finished. And the third TIF -- the Tiger Hotel -- has been a slow moving train wreck ever since it was first approved for the incentive.
Want business incentives? Lower taxes for ALL businesses, not just a poorly-chosen few.