MLK Boulevard TIF Is A Public Scam From People You Should be Able To Trust

Tuesday, February 20, 2018
TIFs (Tax Incremental Financing) were created to allow cities to do projects they cannot afford.  A TIF project also allows various private construction costs to be subsidized by sequestered future property taxes that normally would go into the general fund for running a city. It’s credit card spending with a new fancy name. Politicians love it because it sounds good, but they clearly don’t understand it, because they see a TIF as money from nothing with few down sides.
 

How good does this sound? While the taxes for TIF designated land are saved for a special project, regular taxpayers pay for routine city services incurred by the property having taxes diverted for years (and years) to pay to build the special TIF project. If you are confused by this nonsense, join the club. Most scams work because they sound great and have great deceptive marketing.

You might ask yourself, who could create a PR scam like this? I am fibbing a little bit to call it a scam, because technically if the state Senate and House of Representatives pass a poorly written state law making such treachery legal, it is not a common scam. It’s the legal scam we all know as bad government on parade. The original intent was to fight city blight, but it’s being used to line the pockets of private developers and investors for everything but blight.

What is this latest proposed downtown TIF project? City officials whine out loud that it’s a street remodel that has languished undone for 20 years. Be honest. How many of you taxpayers lay awake at night dreaming about getting another remodeled piece of real estate downtown leading to a bike trail? You can dress this TIF up, put lipstick on it and accessorize it with a silk purse, but it remains a project no sane group of adult citizens has requested.

Property taxes were raised recently. The argument was city officials needed us to pay them more money so they could care for us. So, taxpayers are now paying more for the same terrible roads, a high murder rate and under-funded fire and police pension plans. Since our basic needs still continue underfunded and unmet, why would now be the perfect time for the City Council to approve a multi-million-dollar project to facilitate another downtown Chattanooga bike trail and sequester years of future taxes (totaling millions of dollars) to subsidize private developers and investors? It’s a run-on sentence that begs for an answer. How much public charity can taxpayers afford and why are our state representatives allowing bizarre TIFs to continue unchecked?

Beware anytime you hear these words...This is a great city investment that will bring in future tax revenue when the project is complete. Let us not forget the last Chattanooga TIF hatched between city officials, developers and hedge fund investors. The city borrowed millions to pay developers to build a new dead end road (plus infrastructure) to service a “yet to be built” private luxury housing development. That pristine TIF land contained no blight. That shell game had city officials issuing bonds that could only be bought by hedge fund owners. Some of the hedge fund folks were also investors in the proposed development. The deal was so rotten it resulted in (among other things) a lawsuit against the city, which the city rightfully lost. Why do politicians enjoy playing games near red hot stoves? Answer: because only taxpayers get burned when they do.

Take time to read other TIF articles. There are especially informative ones written by Helen Burns Sharp. On this TIF, Ms. Helen Sharp is once again trying to save taxpayers from being pushed headfirst into another shallow concrete pool. This woman needs our undying support and thanks.

Pay attention taxpayers. Watch for the officials who vote to approve this new TIF, so you will know who to thank for the next city tax increase. 

Deborah Scott


Why Are Drugs So Expensive?

Diabetes seems to affect more people than any other chronic illness. It causes heart disease, liver and kidney failure and blindness. Eventually it is instrumental in the individuals death.  So why is there no cure?  Go ahead and call me a conspiracy theorist.  My fiancée recently started Trulicity. A once weekly self injection to help control blood sugar.  ... (click for more)

Oh, Woe, What's Next?

Oh woe, what is next is an apt introduction to a topic that lots of people talk about but little actually gets done and the product improves. The product, children, is a blessed event most of the time unless you are black, brown or not readily acceptable to the majority. I saw the prejudice in my small town as Polish, Italian, Latvian immigrants moved to work in the factories ... (click for more)

Red Bank Finalizes 20-Cent Property Tax Increase

The Red Bank commissioners voted Tuesday night to adopt the fiscal year 2018-2019 budget that includes a property tax increase. Mayor John Roberts said that along with the increase in both commercial and residential development, comes increased traffic. Infrastructure has not kept up with the growth, including the secondary roads. The cost of paving these roads is $1 million. Money ... (click for more)

Attorney Poston Says Man In Viral Video Seen Fighting Officer Was Trying To Break Up Fight

Attorney McCracken Poston said William Alexander Floyd, the young man seen in the recently published “viral” video who is seemingly engaged in a boxing match with a Chattanooga police officer, started out trying to break up a fight.   The attorney said, "Things are not always as they appear. There is a much more interesting story in the seconds leading up to the events ... (click for more)

Voice Of The Vols John Ward Dies

John Ward, the former “Voice of the Vols,” has died. Senator Lamar Alexander said, “When it came to UT sports, listening to John Ward was almost as good as watching the game. In fact, many Vol fans at many games brought their radios to make sure they could do both. John was a generous, courteous, enthusiastic ambassador for the University of Tennessee. He brought joy ... (click for more)

Belmont University's Mark Price Named Baylor School's Boys' Basketball Coach

Baylor School has named Belmont University's Mark Price as the boys' varsity basketball coach, following veteran basketball coach Austin Clark's announcement in April that he would be retiring after 36 years of coaching the Red Raiders. "I am very excited that Mark will be leading our boys' basketball program.  Throughout this process, we interviewed many individuals who ... (click for more)