As tax incentive tab grows, St. Louis looks to better control abatements

With a growing number of properties off the tax rolls for years, St. Louis is looking at how to better target and control the incentives that now are almost always included in development proposals in the city.

The movement at the St. Louis Development Corporation follows a report released in May that found about $709 million in local tax revenue that would not be collected because of property tax abatements and tax increment financing, or TIF, promised between 2000 and 2014.

Proponents of individual developments often argue that the revenue would never have materialized without tax abatements, which freeze property taxes at their pre-development level, and TIFs, which allow increases in property, sales and income taxes to be used as project financing.

But the nearly 200-page report notes that “it is also likely that some tax revenue is being lost by the City as a result of these incentives.” And this summer, the use of the incentives was cited as a reason the city’s credit rating was downgraded.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch


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