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EDITORIALLY SPEAKING — TIF district could create growth

Muskogee Phoenix
July 1, 2015

Tax increment finance districts have the potential to help our city and county grow.

Muskogee County commissioners recently gave the OK to consider the creation of a TIF district as a way of attracting businesses.

A TIF district caps the amount of tax revenue — from sales and property — each affected tax jurisdiction receives for a period of time.

Any additional tax revenue generated above the capped amount would be captured for specific purposes set out in a plan that creates a TIF district.

The Urban Renewal Authority created a TIF district to help finance the development of a blighted area in northwest Muskogee.

Part of that area, which has laid fallow for years, is being developed now. A new retail center is scheduled to open by the Christmas shopping season.

That might not have been possible without the creation of a TIF district. And further development might be sped by using the TIF district money.

There are numerous advantages in economic development for the average citizen:

• Jobs become available;

• Increased tax revenue over time helps fund schools, road repair, fire and police; and

• New shopping, dining, and housing possibilities.

A TIF district is a wager that these possibilities will outweigh any potential negative of a TIF district.

It’s a pretty safe gamble.

That’s because these TIF districts are pretty much barren of tax revenue without development.

The area that will become Three Rivers Plaza was destined to be a field for years to come.

The jobs, shopping and dining that will be created improve the quality of life in our community. The plaza has the potential to generate more tax revenue than the field.

The gamble is that a TIF district might put too great a burden on tax jurisdictions before the TIF district expires.

If Muskogee suddenly receives an influx of residents because of the added jobs then school districts might be squeezed by additional students without the benefit of receiving all of the newly generated taxes.

The full impact of benefits vs. burden won’t be known for years.

But it seems TIF districts have the potential to grow our city. Economic development benefits us all.

That’s worth the risk.

Source: http://www.muskogeephoenix.com/opinion/editorials/editorially-speaking-tif-district-could-create-growth/article_1f3b87d7-6e56-5aeb-9641-e89bb62cb959.html

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