Senators Try to Retool TIF

1 decade 11 months 1 week ago February 08, 2006 Feb 8, 2006 Wednesday, February 08 2006 Wednesday, February 08, 2006 9:34:00 PM CST in News

It's makeover time for a redevelopment program, as lawmakers try to re-do an old bill so developers don't abuse it.

For example, Fulton uses the Tax Increment Financing program, or TIF, to pay for fixing up and developing land.

Republican Sen. John Griesheimer said, "There are a lot of communities that have retail projects that really wouldn't happen if it had not been for TIF."

The program lets communities pay for redevelopment projects first, then owners repay the money as tax revenue rolls in from the projects.

Redevelopment in the city of Fulton is why the Senate Economic Development Committee passed the TIF reform bill, including a controversial "greenfield" provision to protect undeveloped land.

"To blight a beautiful piece of undeveloped property, they're going to say that's blighted and then they are going to put a 1,200 lot subdivision on it which affects the schools," complained Greisheimer. "I'm sorry, that's wrong."

But, there's plenty of disagreement about the "blighted" requirement.

"We don't want to have to fake it and say it's blighted, distressed or anything else," responded Republican Sen. Kevin Engler of Farmingon. "We just want to say we want to give these economic benefits to them. We have other people who want to make the restrictions much tougher."

A city or county must designate redeveloped land as blighted, a conservation area, or an economic development area in order to meet TIF requirements.

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