Letter writer opposes Tsichlis’ effort to change Missouri’s TIF law


To the editor:

Lindbergh Board of Education Treasurer Mike Tsichlis trying to change the state’s tax-increment financing, or TIF, law proves beyond a doubt that public school boards do not have the interest of the people and businesses who support these schools at heart.

Are schools operating their own state? It seems they want to become decision-makers of how cities decide to expand business and communities. If TIFs were not available, there would not even be a dirt pile at the former Crestwood mall site. Not one penny came from public schools to raze the buildings on the site.

If TIFs were not available, Gravois Bluffs would not exist. Now would Mr. Tsichlis like to tally up the additional school-tax revenues solely attributed to Gravois Bluffs? Would he like to tally the large student growth attributed to Gravois Bluffs in Lindbergh Schools?

It’s massive. Our public schools have boldly appointed themselves as the thumbs up/down authorities to growing a community. Eventually any vacant area becomes hostage to a public enterprise. Mr. Tsichlis needs to know that any vacant property yields zero tax dollars today and zero tax dollars tomorrow.

The Crestwood mall has been vacant over 10 years. That’s 10 years of zero dollars. Therefore, Lindbergh has lost zero, right?

So if the new state law gives Lindbergh the right to refuse TIF arrangements, cities get zero dollars and schools get zero dollars.

Every Lindbergh resident better wake up. Public schools are now in control of your children. Beware that any TIF state law changes will force Lindbergh residents to eventually support the school with massive tax increases assessed on vacant property.

One final point: The new $8 million Lindbergh Schools Central Office building was an additional mortgage on every one of your homes. That’s right, the annual real estate tax on your property is lien-mortgaged. Allowing your school board to loan money to build is exactly the same as you mortgaging your home.

Not a one of you can say, “I am mortgage free.” You are not.

Peter Russo