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LOCAL News :: City Hall

Uneven Patchwork: Tax Increment Financing in Kansas City

ReclaimDemocracy.org/KC released an academic study of an economic development incentive, known as TIF, in Kansas City on January 17.
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Mary Lindsay, Reclaim Democracy.org/KC spokesperson, and Dr. Michael P. Kelsay takes questions in a press conference at UMKC on January 17, 2007.
The Kansas City chapter of ReclaimDemocracy.org held a press conference on January 17 at UMKC to release Uneven Patchwork: Tax Increment Financing in Kansas City, an academic study authored by UMKC Economist Michael Kelsay, Ph.D. The study examines The Kansas City Council’s pattern of approval of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) plans by Council District. A full-page map of Kansas City is included in the study to illustrate the distribution of TIF plans with demographic information by Council District.

The study includes an executive summary and is clear and coherent for a larger audience than those that are students of economics. Socioeconomic statistics are layered with reasoning as to why the city’s ad hoc TIF policy is putting into question the long-term social and economic health of the city. It shows a pattern of awarding TIF projects to the city’s most economically advantaged areas and bypassing those most in need of economic development.

Mary Lindsay, spokesperson for Reclaim Democracy-Kansas City, stated, “The findings of this study bring into question decisions of City Hall, where for years the awarding of economic incentives has been directed away from the communities in the city that need them the most. The city’s lack of an economic development plan to guide the TIF Commission puts developers in the driver’s seat.”

The Kansas City chapter of Reclaim Democracy hopes this study will inform the discussion in the upcoming City elections. To that end, Reclaim Democracy is cosponsoring a mayoral forum that will take place January 23, 2007, at UMKC’s Grant Hall from 6-8 PM.

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