by David Martin
As a candidate, Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser ran against the generous distribution of incentives developers received from City Hall. Today he asked for an audit of an agency that makes the magic happen.
Funkhouser asked for time at Wednesday's meeting of the Tax-Increment Financing Commission. In calling for the audit, the mayor brought to mind a singer performing his best-known hit. As city auditor, Funk wrote stinging appraisals of the TIF Commission and the developer-friendly way in which it conducted its business.
The TIF Commission's staff works with developers who say they need taxpayer assistance to proceed with their projects. The commissioners send the proposals to the city council, which has final say on the development deals.
Funkhouser has criticized the process for years. As auditor, he found that projects tend to be viewed through rose-colored glasses and the TIF Commission lacking in the controls necessary to keep developers honest.