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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tax excrement financing

The curmudgeonly Randal O'Toole gives the "urban renewal" types an earful here. If you read the whole thing, he's got quite a list of boondoggles from all over. And Charlie Hales shows up as a poster child for cronyism in one of them. An interesting policy paper to counter the Acts of the Planning Apostles.

Comments (8)

Skateboard Charlie is Sam the Scam without the pederasty.

Something funny's going on all right, but I'd hate to have my comment classified as a "review"...on the other hand, given what's starting to become obvious, why do I care?

O'Toole has researched a well documented review on Urban Renewal=TIF dollars. Not surprising are the numerous citations concerning Portland. His call for reform, minimally, is right-on:

1) Tightening definition of "blight".
2) Refining TIF formulas to ensure Urban Renewal Districts don't automatically get more funds when overlapping tax districts raise tax rates.
3) Allow other tax entities to opt out of Urban Renewal Districts.
4) Require vote to approve or extend Urban Renewal Districts.

At least 4) might be achieved. It is likely that Clackamas Co. will have voter approval of UR on the Nov. ballot. But, once again our State legislature has done nothing concerning UR.

With his factual based analysis, O'Toole even calls for elimination of UR. He bases it mostly on the fact that development/improvements would happen in a "blighted" area or a nearby area anyway. Contrary to what Charlie Hales and Leonard said several times in hearings concerning South Waterfront, development would have occurred in the area without any major public subsidies. As stated many times here, there were over four major development projects planned for SoWhat before the City instigated the carrot stick of Urban Renewal free money for the developers to swarm in.

That's all I needed to know about Hales. He's a no-go. Replacing Sam with him would be like replacing six with a half-dozen.

Snards, wait a second. Sam said the same thing as Charlie, Leonard, Vera, and Francesconi. Maybe you'll weight your vote on the polithera of other factors.

Here is some video of charlie saying we have to give tax exemptions to encourage high density development:




Wow, here's a disturbing angle I never considered before (page 5):

"Second, in most states, TIF districts gain when other tax entities persuade voters to increase taxes. Say a school or library district convinces voters to pass a bond levy that increases taxes by $1 for every $1,000 of property value. Taxes are increased both inside and outside of the TIF districts, but the increased revenues inside the TIF districts go to TIF, not to the school or library district."

Legend, your quote is a major point that was missed by most of the media in the PPS Bond/Levy Measures. O'Toole certainly points it out in his "2)" item mentioned above. With close to 20% (Oregon's statute maximum is 25%)of Portland's land area in URD's, the Measures became a double negative if you're really trying to help PPS.

There is also the inequity of where Portland's 11 URDS (with Sam proposing another from PSU to Downtown) are located. They are mostly in the highest property value areas of Portland-downtown and along mass transit lines. That means on a dollar-to-dollar tax percentage basis there is more dollars being lost for schools, etc. than if URD's were in truly "blighted" areas.

Also not discussed by the media (or PPS) is that county assessors are allowed to increase property taxes minimally 3% per year (back in the early/mid 2000s the increases averaged 6% to 8%. These increases within URD's, beyond the tax base formed at time of a URD's inception, do not go to schools, police, fire, etc., but is directly added to the TIF dollars of each 11 URD's in Portland, and this applies to the rest of the state too.

Several of our regional fire districts, police agencies, and a few school administrators and school boards are learning these facts. And a few are doing something about it, and I hope more join them. Even the so-called wealthy LO has discovered the Urban Renewal Legend falsity .

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