Saturday, December 23, 2006
It looks to me like Christmas came early for the Briarcliff Development Company. This week's top story in the Kansas City Business Journal “Silent deal underpins Briarcliff request,” illustrates some of the problems with TIF. In the amazing first sentence Jim Davis writes, “A request for extra-strength tax incentives to bring a hotel and an office building to the upscale Briarcliff area is unlikely to face serious opposition from the Kansas City Council thanks to an unwritten deal councilmembers struck three years ago.” Say what? A secret deal? What sort of analysis went into the deal? A good case could be made that Kansas City is already overbuilt in hotels and office space, so why is the municipal government subsidizing more? The “deal” in this case would give all the resulting taxes to the developer. If the deal is sound, why must it be done in secret? If TIF is economic development why do we keep doing TIF in the wealthier parts of town instead of the areas that are obviously more economically challenged?