Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is marching onward in Missouri. Today’s Kansas City Star has a great editorial on a proposed TIF in the Raytown School District that the schools are fighting. I hope the district wins this battle.
Tomorrow night, the Saint Louis County TIF Commission holds a public hearing about a new proposed TIF in Shrewsbury. The new development is highly likely to involve a new Walmart. It will be hard to stop this proposal, even if the county commission votes against it. Shrewsbury can override the vote of the county TIF commission with a two-thirds vote of its board of aldermen. That is exactly what happened in Ellisville. This TIF, by the way, is completely unnecessary, in my opinion.
Joplin is also moving forward with an enormous TIF. I am happy the school district received a larger up-front payment in the process, but I do not think the TIF will benefit Joplin in the long run, as its supporters are claiming. (We can all admit Joplin is a different situation than the other Missouri TIFs I have discussed.)
I think it is time for people to get serious about expanding the sales tax pool to include all of Saint Louis County (and perhaps the city), and taking the pooling concept over to Jackson County as well. Cities in the sales tax pool put all their general sales taxes into a pool that is then distributed by formula back to the cities. Those cities benefit from growth wherever it occurs in the county. Cities within the sales tax pool in Saint Louis County use TIF far less often than point-of-sale cities, and that is worth incentivizing and expanding.