The origninal intent of TIF was to revitalize blighted areas in a community.
An increasing number of cities are using TIF to incentivize development in desireable areas to compete with neighboring cities.
Address the scope of how TIF can be used.
Taxpayers are Being Held Hostage
When property tax dollars are spent to compete with other communities instead of revitalizing blighted areas, the taxpayer loses.
Tax increment financing (TIF) is an economic development tool used by local governments. It can be an excellent mechanism for addressing blight and encouraging development in an area that may otherwise be unfavorable.
Unfortunately, an increasing number of cities are using TIF to incentivize development in desirable areas to compete with neighboring communities for new businesses. When property tax dollars are spent in this manner, the taxpayer loses. Local governments are subsidizing growth that would have likely occurred without incentives given at the taxpayers’ expense.
The scope of TIF desperately needs to be addressed. Using TIF for the original intent of addressing blighted areas is reasonable, but the increasing use of TIF for broader economic development is concerning. Cities, and in turn, the taxpayers, are being held hostage. Their tax dollars are paying for development that would occur naturally if cities no longer had to compete financially against each other with tax incentives.