Urban Neglect: Kansas City’s Misuse of Tax Increment Financing
Usually when a private company considers undertaking a project, it weighs the current cost of that project against its future possible earnings, such as rent or sale prices. Sometimes, due to economic downturn or widespread poverty, entire regions are overlooked by private developers. As a result, governments have adopted a type of tax subsidy known as Tax Increment Financing (TIF), and it has become a common economic development tool throughout the United States. Kansas City is no exception.
In Kansas City, however, TIF is not being used to address legitimate blight or pervasive economic need. In fact, it appears to be used predominantly to subsidize private development in areas where there is little need for taxpayer subsidy, often rewarding politically connected developers instead.
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