In The News › Report: Jefferson TIF Needs More Structure

Jul 28, 2008

Source: New Orleans CityBusiness

Report: Jefferson TIF Needs More Structure

Report: Jefferson TIF districts needs structure

A government watchdog group is urging Jefferson Parish to apply more structure to tax incentive districts it has created to pay for infrastructure repair and blight eradication before public money is steered to these areas.

The New Orleans-based Bureau of Governmental Research issued its “Look Before You Leap” report Tuesday on tax increment financing for areas where Jefferson officials hope to use sales tax revenues for property acquisition and capital projects. Instead of paying taxes to the parish, the proceeds are diverted to projects within the district that encourage additional development.

The Jefferson Parish Council has established three TIF districts: in Terrytown near Oakwood Shopping Center; west of Westwego, encompassing the Tournament Players Championship golf course and Churchill Technology and Business Park; and the Manhattan Boulevard corridor.

The Legislature has given Jefferson Parish clearance to create a fourth TIF district in Fat City, an area where the parish has prioritized street repairs and previously established tax incentives to encourage redevelopment.

BGR considers sales TIF a poor tool for economic development and recommends against its use,” the report says. “However, if Jefferson Parish is determined to proceed with the use of sales TIF, it should put in place the framework needed to carefully evaluate TIF proposals and minimize their downsides.”

Among BGR’s recommendations to Jefferson Parish is that TIFs only be used in areas that would not be redeveloped without public investment and that it establish a cap, based on a dollar amount of percentage of its general fund, on the amount of taxes that can be diverted to TIF districts.

The full report is available at www.bgr.org.

Jul 28, 2008

Source: New Orleans CityBusiness

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