Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

New Development Bill Takes Some Detours

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

New Development Bill Takes Some Detours

Article excerpt

Legislators say a new business subsidy program they're crafting is narrowly tailored to help blighted areas in enterprise zones and central business districts.

Oh, yes, and the Riverside-Quindaro Bend Levee District in Platte County.

An economic development bill before the Legislature includes a special provision for the levee district in western Missouri. To help raise money for a new levee along the Missouri River, the district could seek to use state sales taxes or income taxes generated by future development there. "If they build the levee, it'll be more developable," reasoned Sen. Sidney Johnson, D-Agency, who helped shepherd the provision through the legislative process. The 80-page bill, which is up for final approval this week, is choc k-full of complicated provisions that benefit one industry or another, one development or another. Tracking the intended beneficiaries is tricky. For instance, the levee district is not identified by name. It's referred to as a levee district "contained within a county of the first classification without a charter form of government with a population between 50,000 and 100,000 inhabitants which contains all or part of a city with a population in excess of 400,000 or more inhabitants." That long-winded passage lets the district participate in a new state program that would parallel tax-increment financing efforts on the local level. Under the program, known as TIF, developers pay off construction bonds by using part of the property taxes and local sales taxes that their projects generate. School districts and other taxing entities forgo the additional revenue for up to 23 years. Under the bill, the state could allot up to $15 million a year in state income taxes and state sales taxes for TIF projects. That could finance $100 million to $150 million in bonds, sponsors say. …

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