Will Kraus tries to bring TIF reform to Jefferson City

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Kraus wants to reform TIF but time is running out.
  • Kraus wants to reform TIF, but time is running out.
In Wednesday's paper, we wrote about some of the waves Raytown Quality Schools Superintendent Allan Markley has been making in the tax-increment financing bathtub.

TIF is the commonly used development tool that sometimes results in good projects and sometimes results in bad projects. But its method of redirecting new property and economic activity taxes away from public bodies, like cities, counties and school districts, to developers often has a way of limiting their revenues at a time when budgets are strapped.

Markley's school district has watched TIF redirect millions in potential revenues to development projects at a time when the district is grappling with declining state aid and lower property assessments.

Lately, Markley has spoken out about the practice and has been willing to fight the TIF process in a couple of instances. He spent his day Wednesday testifying on behalf of Senate Bill 213, which looks to reform the practice.

Introduced by Sen. Will Kraus (R-Lee's Summit), it would allow taxing jurisdictions like Markley's Raytown district to opt out of having its revenues go toward development projects.

That would mark a major departure from how TIF works, because it would give taxing jurisdictions the opportunity to independently subtract large amounts of money from the TIF kitty that go to development projects, rather than having to send that money over automatically when a city council passes a TIF plan.

Kansas City, which has built many projects like the Power & Light District with TIF, naturally sent its lobbyist to testify against the bill.

There isn't much chance being given to Kraus' bill being advanced too far during this legislative session, but that it got a hearing before the Senate Jobs, Economic Development and Local Government Committee could give some measure of momentum for another run at moving the bill along during a future legislative session.

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