Tax-Increment Financing in Post-tornado Joplin

The tornado that devastated Joplin, Missouri in May of 2011 killed 161 people and injured over 1,000. Property damage resulted in insurance claims of over $2 billion and cost residents and businesses about $34 million in assessed property evaluation. 

In an effort to facilitate reconstruction, city leaders used a tax-increment financing (TIF) program. The people of Joplin rebuilt their town with remarkable speed, and by 2015, total assessed property value in Joplin exceeded the pre-tornado level. But if anything, they did so in spite of—not because of—the TIF program.