Thursday, February 16, 2006

Councilman urges diligence to avoid TIF max-out

Diligent. To lay the shovel down, that is diligent.
Councilman urges diligence to avoid TIF max-out 'We have to be very diligent about prioritizing what projects get [TIFs],' said Mr. Peduto.
NONE is diligent. Enough is enough. NO to ALL TIFs.

We should want sustainable business ventures here. We should not need to bribe others to move and open here. If they come in with a TIF, then we'll never get the real expansion here that is needed.

We don't have any more money to be tossing it around as we used to do. We're broke.

And, we don't want to be doing what we should NOT be doing. Government needs to govern and get out of the development business. Then, we get developers who want to govern.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Councilman urges diligence to avoid TIF max-out
Thursday, February 16, 2006

By Rich Lord, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

City Councilman William Peduto warned yesterday that the city is nearing a state-imposed limit on tax increment financing, a method used to subsidize private development.

Council gave the Urban Redevelopment Authority preliminary approval to apply for a $16 million state grant to help PNC Financial Services Group build a new Downtown tower. It's part of a proposed $48 million package of subsidies toward the $170 million tower.

An $18 million chunk of the subsidy would come from tax increment financing, or TIF, in which the URA borrows money and pays it off using city, Allegheny County and Pittsburgh Public Schools taxes.

Mr. Peduto said the plan would jeopardize the city's ability to use TIF for other Downtown development or a new arena. That's because state law says properties subject to TIF can total no more than 10 percent of the city's property value, and it's approaching that limit.

"We have to be very diligent about prioritizing what projects get [TIFs]," said Mr. Peduto.

URA Director Jerome Dettore said 8.13 percent of the city's taxable value is subject to TIFs. He said that would rise immediately to 8.23 percent if proposed TIFs for PNC's tower and parking garages in South Oakland are approved.

It would rise to 9.67 percent several years from now when those projects are completed. In the meantime, though, the URA could craft more TIFs, he said.

Council has not yet received the final plan for the PNC TIF.

Also yesterday, in his first major fiscal move, Mayor Bob O'Connor proposed temporarily slashing the URA's budget to account for federal funding cuts.

Legislation submitted Tuesday would cut $2.3 million from the URA's neighborhood housing efforts and $15,000 from a grant to the Animal Rescue League of Western Pennsylvania. That matches the difference between the $19.5 million the city had hoped to receive from the federal Community Development Block Grant program and the $17.2 million it will actually get.

Council considered a vote on the measure yesterday, but backed off and will likely take an initial vote Wednesday. Mayoral spokesman Dick Skrinjar called the cut "a placeholder" while the administration seeks other funding sources, or decides how to distribute the pain.

URA Executive Director Jerome Dettore said he believed most of the cut would be restored to his agency later in the year.

Block grant funding goes for neighborhood development, senior programs, demolition and sometimes paving in low-income neighborhoods. President Bush's administration and Congress cut the overall block grant program, resulting in the reduction in the city's share.

Mr. O'Connor's administration is rewriting the city's 2006 budget, which state-appointed overseers rejected.