I guess I am not the only one who thinks handing out all these TIF’s is a bad idea

I have often wondered how the city has gotten away with giving out tax incentives at the detriment of the county and school district. But have no fear, the city is using prudence;

The districts are crucial for economic development, but city officials are conservative about which projects qualify, said Brent O’Neil, the city’s economic development manager.

I guess I would like to know what Brent considers to be conservative? Luxury lofts and big box retailers (that already planned on coming with or without the TIF incentive).

“We end up picking up more work without any means of financing it for a long time,” said Dick Kelly, Minnehaha County Commission chairman, adding that the city benefits from increased sales tax revenue, and schools have other funding during this waiting period. “Long-term thinking, it’s good, but you still gotta get there and demands come right away.”

Yeah, what does the city care, they are not taking any money out of their coffers to enable the TIF’s. It would be like buying a car with a loan that you don’t have to make a payment on until 20 years down the road, but by then you have sold car and the loan becomes someone else’s problem.

The issue will be up for discussion during the Legislative session in Pierre. The South Dakota Association of County Commissioners approved a resolution — Minnehaha County did not support it — seeking a change that would require all taxing entities to approve TIFs in order to use the anticipated property tax increase, said Ken McFarland, the Minnehaha County Commission’s administrative officer. If the city, for example, was the only entity to approve, then only that portion of property tax increment could be used.

Makes sense. Right? Not to Mikey;

Mayor Mike Huether credits TIFs with changing the city.

“When I first started, we were hoping and working to get out of the economic funk, and one of the tools we realized could help stimulate some activity were these TIFs,” he said. “And, oh my, they are making a difference … it not only cleans up a site but also develops the site and it will turn into what I believe will be a retail and sales tax cash cow for the city.”

And while you are taking money away from the county, subsidizing wealthy developers and putting more in the city coffers to spend on pickleball courts (and not snowgates) how is it benefitting me, the lowly tax payer? I have often said if TIF’s are good enough for private development, they are good enough for home owners. It’s funny how Lloyd claims he and his buddy Donny Dunham couldn’t do these projects without TIF’s yet everyday in this fine city, private homeowners pull up their boot straps and figure out how to restore and fixup old homes in the central DT area;

“There’s no way in God’s green earth we could have done CNA (Surety building) and the (downtown Hilton Garden Inn) hotel, no way we could have done Uptown lofts, no way (Don) Dunham could have done some of the buildings downtown without TIF,” Developer Craig Lloyd said. “It’s been pretty site specific, area specific.”

Yes, those projects could have been done without TIF’s, the difference would be that instead of taking away from property tax revenues developers would have to spend their own money to do it. Gee, isn’t capitalism a bitch?

Beninga said commissioners have had informal discussions about TIFs for a few months, and it’s time to bring it to the public table.

“We don’t get a say,” Beninga said. “That’s an issue. It’s a decision we don’t make, but it affects us. We need to have more input, frankly.”

Beninga is right, why doesn’t the county have a say in the matter?

Lloyd, who has been working with the city since last November to create TIF No. 18 for a Phillips Avenue Loft development, said expanding the use of TIFs for economic development is necessary, because South Dakota has few other tools to attract business. Yes, there’s no income tax, and lower workman’s comp, Lloyd said. But those things don’t help in the short term.

What a load of baloney. We have some of the best public saftey, public schools and parks and rec in the nation. We also have high productivity and low salaries in SD, these things DO attract business. Not sure how building luxury lofts using a tax rebate incentive attracts business, but this is coming from the same guy who promised us before the 2nd penny got raised to a full penny that developers would be putting in 50% to the arterial road fund. How did that prediction work out Craig? Seemed to work out pretty good for you, just not the rest of us, and I don’t look at TIF’s any differently. The developers will reap the short term benefits while the regular property tax payer will be left holding the bag when the county has to have another property tax opt-out.

5 comments ↓

#1 anominous on 12.27.12 at 1:37 pm

Yeah sure, CNA. Those paupers.

#2 Detroit Lewis on 12.27.12 at 1:44 pm

That’s the part that cracks me up. Like Lloyd (who collects rents on over 4,000 properties monthly in this town) can’t afford to clean this up himself. He can, but when the city is handing out incentives like candy, why not get in line. I love how these people are the first to bitch about socialism, but will be the first to get in that line.

#3 Scott on 12.27.12 at 4:52 pm

My belief is that anybody who whines about government “freeloaders” should not be getting corporate welfare.

#4 Pathloss on 12.29.12 at 9:59 am

Huether’s term has changed the city into oligarchy with tyranny bordering upon treason. He feeds monopoly developers and big corporations. What about empty commercial space all across town? Small business goes bankrupt when government hands big business a free ride.

#5 Poly43 on 12.30.12 at 10:03 pm

I like your style l3wis. Right in their face. And right on. You really should be writing for the payleader. But then, they’d be be sacrificing the truth for advertising revenue….nevermind.

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