St. Louis recommending less generous tax breaks, but some argue for more

Two developers swept up in a new city policy of recommending less generous property tax breaks won some concessions Tuesday from a St. Louis development board that continues to finesse the city’s abatement procedures.

Even so, the St. Louis Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority, which oversees the commonly used tax abatements in the city, still signaled it wants development projects to generate some new revenue for city schools and other taxing districts.

Until very recently, the LCRA was recommending 100 percent property tax abatement for up to a decade, making the city’s schools and other taxing jurisdictions wait years for any new revenue. People who knew the system, from big developers down to single-family homebuyers planning a rehab, took advantage of the subsidy.

Now, staff at the city’s economic development arm, the St. Louis Development Corp., are recommending abatements of 80 or 90 percent or less on some projects in stronger neighborhoods. SLDC Director Otis Williams told the LCRA board Tuesday that “the philosophy going forward” is to generate some immediate revenue for schools and other taxing districts.

But developers and even some SLDC staff indicated the change in policy has caught some people off guard.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch


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