To the editor:
I was disappointed to read Michael Nolan’s letter to the Call last week in which he expressed the sentiment that the purpose of tax-increment financing, or TIF, should be to help improve schools, libraries or parks.
TIF’s purpose is to encourage private investment and redevelopment that would not otherwise occur without the use of TIF. It works by allowing a developer to pay certain development-related costs out of payments in lieu of certain property and economic activity taxes.
Schools, libraries and parks are government-owned, do not pay property taxes, would not benefit from TIF — as they pay no taxes — and really have no connection to TIF.
Intelligent people can debate the merits of TIF and Centrum’s proposed use of TIF at the former Crestwood mall site.
However, with the amount of misinformation of the TIF process already present, I believe this newspaper does a disservice to the public printing letters that perpetuate misunderstandings of the way TIF works and what it should be used for.
I hope that the new Board of Aldermen starts taking the steps necessary to move the redevelopment forward, beginning with the hiring of professionals to advise the board during the redevelopment process.
Neither Crestwood nor Lindbergh Schools are benefitting from a vacant mall that generates no sales taxes and very little in the way of property taxes.