What Would Daniel Boone (or His Sons) Think of TIF?
A new tax-increment financing (TIF) package is being proposed to subsidize a new, 400-home development in Boonville. As best we can tell, there has only been one TIF previously in Boonville, and it was relatively small. So the people of Boonville may understandably have questions about TIF The pro-developer propaganda being promulgated about town by some doesn’t help clarify matters.
Therefore, we understand if many people in Boonville feel a bit like Daniel Boone himself when he said: “I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks.”
TIF, like other tax incentive and subsidy plans, is at its most basic point just corporate welfare. Why this development would deserve special tax breaks that other businesses, residents, and developments in Boonville don’t get is beyond us. But that is for the city council of Boonville to decide, not us.
Perhaps more importantly, TIF has failed throughout Missouri. Other parts of Missouri have used it extensively; it has not led to economic or population growth. You can’t spend yourself rich and you can’t subsidize your way to growth.
We will have much more to come on this over the next several weeks. For now, if you are interested in this issue, please check out just some of the substantial work we have done on TIF here at the Show-Me Institute:
Our study on whether TIF has worked for economic growth in Missouri (hint: it hasn’t).
Our essay on the connections between political donations and TIF awards.
Our testimony on the importance of TIF reform at the state level.
A commentary on the risk of TIF for Columbia.
Finally, a study on how exactly TIF works in Missouri and elsewhere.
There is much more on our website about this issue, and much more to come from us over the next several weeks (during which I’m sure the developers will tell us we are just as confused as Daniel Boone.)