Or is TIF threat an offensive move to keep out competition?
COLUMBIA, Mo 1/12/14 (Op Ed) -- Developer tax incentives. Harm to public schools. Blight. A Big Rush. Tony St. Romaine.
If City Hall is serious about establishing a TIF district that encompasses all of central Columbia, why trot out every threatening buzzword and unpopular public official to push it?On the other hand, if I were a Town Boss who wanted to keep out all the out-of-town developers behind hundreds more student apartments -- like NYC's Park 7 Group -- I would order my minions in city government to do exactly what they appear to be doing, i.e. everything they can to gin up tremendous public opposition.Without a TIF, city manager Mike Matthes says, city government can't afford to install $100 million of infrastructure to support any more student apartments.
Liberally sprinkled with the word "Blight," today's Hank Waters editorial is the pièce de résistance -- a great piece for TIF resistors. See if, after reading Mr. Waters' editorial, you support this grand new TIF district. Some excerpts:
"No end is in sight for development pressure."
"The attorney for the developer of one project, a proposed 652-bed student housing complex, said TIF is the best option."
"Taxes...could be concentrated in the target area instead of...recipients such as Columbia Public Schools."
"To qualify under law, TIF...must occur in 'blighted' areas."
"The geography of 'blight' is flexible...say, from Elm Street to Business Loop 70 and Garth Avenue to Old 63."
"The Business Loop has tremendous potential and cries for attention." (Business Loop folks feeling the love now?)
"In St. Louis, the Grand Center TIF district is overseen by its own board and executive director."Since when does Columbia want to emulate St. Louis, the murder capital of the nation?
Columbia's deputy city manager charged with getting TIF rolling "on an aggressive time frame, St. Romaine -- best known for advocating the disability-unfriendly dinner train, red-light cameras, and Garagezilla -- made his pitch for public support this way.
"I can basically tell you that without TIF" the Park 7 "project is probably not going to happen."
The "Park 7 project" is the 24-story student highrise planned across from Peace Park. It won't happen. Without TIF.
May I see a show of hands in support of Columbia's new central city TIF district? Just the guys from Park 7? No one else?
Didn't think so.