TIF and other economic development methods can be useful tools in improving the quality of life, business opportunities, and aesthetics in a community provided that they are implemented with each of those goals holding appropriate weight. Economic development can either succeed by replacing residents with more economically advantaged inhabitants, or by providing resources so that neighbors can prosper because of the economic trend.
One solution to mitigate the negative effects of TIF is to create a clause that prohibits an increase in property tax for the current residents. Certain residents, who have lived in the community for a given amount of time (whether that is five years, ten years, or some other determined number), would be “grandfathered” into their current tax rate at the time that the TIF district is created. The tax cap would endure for a specified number of years; this would allow current residents to benefit from the economic advancement in the area and give them time to “catch up” with the trend.
Nonetheless, time itself will not provide a cushion that can protect households and individuals from being displaced when the period has transpired. Economic development agencies and CDCs need to actively provide resources for individual economic progression. In the Mid-North area specifically, there are countless people with valuable skills that may not be recognized due to lack of accreditation, the absence of a certification, or a blemished record. There are master mechanics, electricians, beauticians, carpenters, etc. who may not have attended a formal institution but have acquired excellent skill through experience and serving their communities. If economic development initiatives can focus on capitalizing and improving these skills, residents can be employed in the mainstream market and new businesses will have a wealth of qualified employees to choose from in that neighborhood.
Currently, the TIF Study Commission recommends that a maximum of 15% of TIF dollars be allocated to job training and education. If policy makers increase that maximum to at least 30%, making affordable job training one of the main concerns, individuals can expound on their abilities and interests while attaining certification that will make their skills more marketable in the mainstream job market. These training programs should give residents who were “grandfathered-in” first priority acceptance, ensuring that long standing residents will be able to increase their own quality of life alongside aesthetic and business development.
This community has a wide variety of resources, that when polished can be used to serve both community members and businesses. Local hiring must be a priority and creating space for more locals to be able to compete in the job market is the first step.
Allowing time for people to attain and utilize resources and making said resources readily available for all those who wish to take advantage of them are the most important factors in creating an economic development plan that serves neighbors, businesses owners, and the economy.
“TIF DISTRICTS AND HOW THEY IMPACT TAXES AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN MARION COUNTY”
If you are interested in participating in a discussion about TIF and the way it could affect your community, please attend the Marion County Alliance of Neighborhood Associations (MCANA) meeting this Saturday, July 21st, from 9am-11am. The meeting will be held at North United Methodist Church located at 38th and Meridian.