Local Coalition Gains Commitments For Tax Incentive Reform From City Candidates

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Through a series of public forums, Chattanoogans in Action for Love, Equity, and Benevolence gained several commitments from mayoral and City Council candidates this month. In addition to 14 City Council Candidates, participating mayoral candidates included Wade Hinton, Monty Bruell, Tim Kelly, Kim White, Andrew McLaren, and Christopher Dahl.

In each forum, candidates discussed their ideas for how local government could be more directly engaged with the public and provide greater transparency in development decisions. Specific topics included how to provide greater transparency and accountability for local tax incentive deals, the need for increased staff for city council members, the use of community benefits agreements, and the balance of power between the mayor and City Council. Other key topics included the roles of appointed boards such as the Industrial Development Board, and the Health Education and Housing Facilities Board, both of which play key roles in tax incentive decisions.

At the end of each forum, candidates were asked to commit “yes” or “no” to the following questions: 

Will you commit to develop and implement clear, enforceable, publicly accessible criteria for the Jobs PILOT program?

Will you help ensure that city council, relevant boards, and the general public have thorough, written information outlining exactly how a proposed tax break will benefit the public? Will you ensure that this information is provided well ahead of any vote on a PILOT, TIF or other forms of public incentive?

Will you support an effort to require relevant boards and City Council (IDB and HEB) to hold public hearings for respective PILOT proposals? 

Will you work with CALEB to help identify and set clear expectations for appointees to the IDB and HEB boards?

The list of participating candidates and their commitments are outlined in the attached images.

Videos of candidate forums and more information about the #DevelopWithUsCampaign can be
found here: www.calebcha.org/developwithus


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