JEFFERSON CITY — A Senate bill to reform tax increment financing was heard in the House Downsizing State Government Committee on Monday evening.
Tax increment financing, or TIF, sends the additional property tax revenue generated by a development back to the developer. Effectively a tax break, the incentive reduces the cost of improving a property and is meant to promote redevelopment of blighted areas.
Senate Bill 108 would change the definition of “blighted” to remove currently included categories such as “morals,” which bill sponsor Sen. Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester, said were too subjective.
Koenig said the most controversial aspect of the bill in his opinion is the flood-plain provision. This would prohibit new TIFs from being used to develop in flood plains, with exemptions for Platte, Clay and Jackson counties.
A majority of those who spoke both in favor of and in opposition to the bill spoke about the flood- plain issue.
Representatives for both the Nature Conservancy and Great Rivers Habitat Alliance spoke in favor of the flood-plain provision, citing climate and community concerns about development in flood-plain areas.
Springfield City Councilman Richard Ollis spoke against the bill, saying that this would impact development in the Springfield area, especially since flood-plain maps can change.
A member of the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce also spoke against the bill, saying it would harm some of the largest industries and employers in the St. Joseph area since it is a river city. Downtown St. Joseph backs up to the Missouri River and would not be allowed to create new TIFs.
A development broker from Springfield spoke about how this bill would derail a development he is working on in the area. He said since part of the property he is working to develop is in a flood plain, the whole project would be excluded from TIFs, despite having no intention to build on that part of the property.
A member of the Show Me Institute spoke in favor of the bill, saying any TIF reform is better than current law. He pulled out printed copies of multiple studies from different think tanks and research facilities that say TIFs don’t work.