© 2023 by Neighbors for a Livable Saint Paul

City STILL Approves up to $275 million in Tax Breaks for Developers

Cont. from HOME page 

Many citizen groups and organizations are advising against the overuse of TIF and advocating for greater transparency and accountability in local economic development subsidies.

 

TIF is often described as an addiction of politicians. TIF benefits developers and property owners while citizens and local businesses foot the bill.

In 2016, city leaders approved a $275 million Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Request to assure developers interested in the Ford site that there will be enough public money available to reimburse them for building the site infrastructure (streets, curbs, sidewalks, etc.). This agreement has been extended and the total amount is still available. Review of the Melo and Walsh articles in the local press in October, 2019 one might easily become confused as references in those articles to TIF requests are much lower.

 

Since NEW income from new construction (commercial rent, apartment rental, etc.) built using this enormous tax break must go to bond holders, developers, the HRA or Port Authority for 25 years per the TIF agreement, new costs resulting from construction would need to be paid by the rest of the City's taxpayers during those 25 years, most frequently, this need is felt first by schools which do not have access to the 'increment' to defer costs for new students and must turn, once again to local property owners to help with these new expenses (see article below).

 

This video click here explains why the City taking the equivalent of 10% of total tax revenues out of the public's hands for 25 years can be a real expensive proposition! 

A PRICE FOR ‘TIF’

The Saint Paul School District Teachers Union (2018) voted to go on strike beginning Feb. 13. All the issues raised in last week’s news report about that relate to a lack of adequate funding. There’s however no mention of a major reason for this. From my calculation, about $9 million each year is diverted from our public schools to pay debt service, for private development attributed to tax increment financing (TIF). This is done without School Board approval. The worst part is we are committed to this debt for 25 years from the start.

There is very little the city, Ramsey County and our schools have to show for this enormous ongoing expense.

John Mannillo, St. Paul
The writer is co-chair of Saint Paul STRONG