Attacking TIF’s

A friend sent me a link to this article from Inside Indiana Business.  The article cites a Ball State University brief titled, “Some Economic Effects of Tax Increment Financing in Indiana“, which postulates, per the article, that the overall effect of TIF districts in a community is negligible in the creation of economic development because it is just a function of moving development from one area (outside the TIF) to another (inside the TIF) at the expense of taxpayers outside the TIF.  If you’re really interested in this, I would suggest you follow the link to the full “brief” as there is a lot more information there than what has been condensed into the article.

Now here’s my perception/opinion on this.  First, a TIF District allows a community to capture tax dollars that go to the State to be kept under local control and use to improve the TIF District.  This is an example of letting local appointees make decisions on spending tax dollars on needs of which they are intimately aware rather than begging the State, which is only peripherally aware, for funds through grants or other means.  Second, this lets a community drive the development into areas they prefer.  A community uses their Comprehensive Plan and  sets up Zoning Districts to try and direct development where they want it.  TIF becomes further incentive… an actual monetary incentive… to locate where the community wants them.  And Third, which is mainly a reiteration of 1 and 2 that I think bears repeating…  LOCAL CONTROL!  Despite what the people inside the 465 loop think, not everything (if even anything) is better due to filtering it through them.

Image Source:  The TIF Illumination Project

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