Tonight is the big night in Ellisville. The just-announced closure of the Best Buy in town should make the choice easier for the city to just join the county sales tax pool, as the difference between what Ellisville would get as an “A” (point-of-sale) city and a “B” (pool) city is now much closer. It should not be used as an excuse to enter into the proposed Tax Increment Financing (TIF). Cities do not have to play this game. They have a way out – the sales tax pool.
A new Walmart is opening in Jefferson County. Yes, it got a TIF. The property taxes will now be frozen for all the other taxing districts. So, someone please explain to me how the school district is going to pay for educating the kids in the 180 new homes that are part of the project, when those homes will not be paying the necessary marginal taxes for the schools. Oh yeah, the school district will seek to raise taxes on everyone else . . .
Meanwhile, in more positive news, Florissant officials are set to vote next week on approving a development for a Walmart that is being built without a TIF. The Florissant City Council rejected a TIF last year, but the project is going forward because this particular plan makes economic sense. I commend Florissant officials for their discipline, and hope this serves as an example to cities throughout Missouri. This is a good opportunity to remind people that I have nothing against Walmart – just the subsidies that usually accompany it.
Finally, here is the Show-Me Institute’s latest study on the basic structure of TIF.