Morgan's Brain

Sep. 19, 2008 at 8:49pm

Tacoma (Russell) Still in the Game!

Like some of you, I've been following the State dip its toes into LIFT, a fancy financing tool meant to encourage economic growth. And like some of you, I was disappointed to find out that Tacoma did not make the cut this round.

But wait! This just in!

A data entry error in the scoring for Local Infrastructure Financing Tool (LIFT) awards was discovered late yesterday. Based on this new information, Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) staff and Board members are in the process of reviewing the scoring and a special meeting of CERB will be scheduled to review the awards.  The LIFT awards were announced in a news release issued yesterday. Applicants have been notified of the situation and the plans for reconvening the board. An announcement will be issued as soon as the meeting date is determined.

Woo-hoo! We're still in the game!

comments [10]  |  posted under goof, russell, state, tacoma

Comments

by Erik on 9/19/2008 @ 11:48pm
Thank god.

Come on Tacoma!

by KevinFreitas on 9/20/2008 @ 8:31am
That's great to hear, thanks Morgan. There's so much opportunity to build in and near downtown I would think the price would be right for Russell to stay without a problem. Personally, I'd like to see them head towards some of the empty blocks near 21st and help brighten up the SoDo side of Tacoma. Though I'd truly love a baseball park to be built there, I have a feeling that ain't gonna happen any time soon. Plus, if Russell builds there the access would be smooth from either 21st or 26th and there'd be plenty of room for them to build parking as well.

by fredo on 9/20/2008 @ 10:55am
The LIFT mechanism is yet another strategy for entangling the taxpayers in economic development projects. The common expression for LIFT-type legislation is "pork." In my opinion, government works best when it ensures a level playing field for all projects and participants.

I'm all in favor of a beautiful Russell Plaza, even a ballpark downtown. But let's let private enterprise lead the way.

by amocat on 9/24/2008 @ 1:45pm
The errors have been fixed and they didn't effect the outcome. Still no LIFT for Tacoma.

by morgan on 9/30/2008 @ 3:12pm
Here's Dan's update to the saga: LIFT money shouldn’t be such a gamble. There was a change in the outcome: Puyallup got in.

by fredo on 10/1/2008 @ 9:27am
The LIFT works like this: A geographical area is targeted for improvement. The taxes generated within the area are frozen and the government improvements are introduced. Then the increase in taxes generated in the area are attributed to the improvements. Dan Voepel of the TNT describes it this way: "...it's money that government would not have collected without the upfront investment."

Few things in life are so simple. Just because A happens and then B happens is that reason to believe that A caused B? When taxes increase in a LIFT area it creates nothing more than a rebuttable presumption that the LIFT caused the increase. While there may be a correlation between LIFT investment and increased tax collections, to say that LIFT caused the tax increases is to draw an unsupportable conclusion.

by morgan on 10/1/2008 @ 9:57am
Agreed Ferdo. But why exclude opportunities?

by fredo on 10/1/2008 @ 10:28am
Morgan@ Well, one reason to exclude this "opportunity" as you refer to it is that it encourages developers to wait on the sidelines until the government steps in with some public funds. If every development project has a publically funded component, then don't be surprised if developers won't proceed without it. The existence of tax incremental financing actually threatens to impede development.

by Jake on 10/1/2008 @ 11:20am
The money would have gone towards infastructure improvements and beautification not to developers.. right?

by fredo on 10/1/2008 @ 11:39am
Jake@ Each LIFT application described how the award would be used, as I recall. I think the Tacoma application was for infrastructure and beautification, though other cities might have had applications that were more directly beneficial to developers.

My criticism of tax incremental financing, herein described by the acronym LIFT, is not with Tacoma's application per se. My problem is with the misappropriation of tax funds. The public has the right to expect developers to pay for the improvements necessary to complete their projects. This is not an unreasonable expectation.