The New Mayor Vetoes Two Tax Subsidies
In a welcome development, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones vetoed two newly proposed tax subsidy bills. One is a small project and one is large, but what they have in common are generous tax subsidies for projects in areas that are doing just fine economically.
The main veto was for a new 300-unit apartment complex right by St. Louis University. The new apartments will be marketed toward students, of which there are many nearby because it is right next to a major university. The developers were asking for a 10-year, 95 percent tax abatement. A 95 percent tax abatement on an $80 million project is a lot of money for the developers, and that money will inevitably be offset by higher taxes on other residents and businesses. The idea that a development such as this at this location needs a huge tax subsidy is absurd. I commend Mayor Jones for these two vetoes and hope it sends a signal for the rest of her administration.
Don’t get me wrong. I think taxes in the City of St. Louis are too high. But if Mayor Jones and the new generation of city leaders can substantially reduce tax subsidies for the lucky few and expand the tax base by doing so, then we might be able to get a tax cut for everyone. If the taxes on commercial development are too high, then lower the commercial property tax surcharge for all businesses. Giving away generous tax abatements to some (who, shockingly, tend to be politically connected) is not the solution.
This is a positive step for Mayor Jones’ term.