Monday, January 17, 2011

The TIF/RIF and Joe Moore's Decision

First of all, a hat tip to Thomas Westgard for obtaining and posting this information.  We have the results of the pre-eligibility study and Joe Moore's statement regarding the RIF.

I read the study, and then I read Moore's letter.  I have to say I agree with Moore's reasoning.  I never thought I'd ever say that!

I must note that although I was a party in the Alderman's Affordable Housing Task Force, I never got a notice about the Northside meeting that is referenced in Moore's letter.  I have no idea what happened.  I certainly don't understand why Northside, with all their chest beating about the TIF, would not make the effort to reach out to the Task Force members and invite us.  That I am sure did not happen, since they had our email addresses and Deb Paton made use of them earlier.  I found out about the meeting, after it occurred, via a comment at my Facebook page.

I will also say that whatever spurred Moore's decision, it was not arrived at via a formal process with the Task Force.  We met twice, and left asking for more information, which I never saw until now.  So I don't know specifically how he came to his conclusion.

The TIF/RIF process, however well intentioned it may be, has suffered, in my view, from a failure on the part of its supporters to face reality.  The consultant's report certainly throws cold water on the notion that TIFing the entire ward is a good idea, and suggests that more work needs to be done to ensure that the suggested alternative meets the state's criteria.  On top of that, the consultant's estimation of what the TIF may actually generate in the 'increment' is not nearly as rosy as the proponents'.  They make the same argument I did, but with far better specifics than I had.

From what I can determine, Northside and  A Just Harvest are headed back to the drawing board to develop an alternative.  I wish them the best.

1 comment:

Thomas Westgard said...

Thanks for the props!

At the Brian White/NSP/AJH meeting yesterday, they made it clear that they are full speed ahead on creating a TIF in Subarea A in the report. Their spin on it was that it is the same project. Arguing over sameness and difference is a philosopher's trick, and I don't buy it here.

White and AJH requested a study for a ward-wide TIF. They never said anything about subareas as a fallback position. They also have been demanding immediate action.

The consultants said that the immediate, ward-wide TIF is a bad idea because large sections of the ward don't qualify and in fact are in such good shape that, if you include them, on average the entire ward, considered as a whole, wouldn't qualify. The consultants came up with some subareas, but that wasn't the White/AJH proposal.

Also the "immediate" factor. White and AJH have been pounding their chests as though this has to happen yesterday, when in fact the consultants show that would lose money because of the property value issue. I think you brought this up as well, although from a slightly different angle.

So the consultants' report rejects the White/ AJH plan, and proposes a new one that White and AJH never mentioned. For White and AJH to claim it as their own is pretty disingenuous at this point. If anything, the report shows that there's a lot that White and AJH didn't think about. The report also doesn't address - was never intended to address - a lot of other issues, like the social justice of taking all this money for a single purpose, the economic effect on the City budget, the political repercussions we would have to trade in City Council, whether it's the most cost-efficient way to achieve the goal, what procedural safeguards against favoritism and graft are present, on and on.

In other words, more study is needed.