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Your Opinion: TIF will improve Capital Mall

Your Opinion: TIF will improve Capital Mall

November 3rd, 2013 by Joy Sweeney, Jefferson City in News

Dear Editor:

As a former small business owner who invested six years in the Capital Mall - under its previous ownership - I applaud Farmer Holding Company (FHC) for the decision to undertake such a risky investment in our community. I just wish FHC would have entered the picture a little sooner - then maybe I would still have a business at the mall.

After listening to some of the comments at the TIF commission meeting last week, it appears that members of our community are still under the impression that individuals within the community are paying directly for the Capital Mall improvements! One person mentioned taxation without representation. This is just not the case, as everyone that is contributing tax money to this endeavor is a business or property owner within the TIF area.

My understanding is that money from the TIF is only received if the property values and sales taxes within the TIF area increase. If they do not, then no "increment" funding is available from the TIF. Yes it would affect any increase to the library, schools and services provided by the city and county, however it will not decrease from what it currently is. And over the past 10 years it has decreased.

The developer only has 23 years maximum to recoup the cost and they may only recoup the amount requested in the TIF so if they get that amount back in 17 years, at that point they must resume payment of the full taxes to the public taxing bodies. All of the properties being taxed must vote to be part of this TIF; therefore they are being represented.

The Community Improvement District (CID) 1 percent tax is a 40-year additional "sales tax" that will be retained by the developer to safeguard the property improvements to ensure that our community receives and benefits from the increased property taxes after the TIF concludes. Apparently the contention is that people are charged this CID tax and do not get to vote on it!

Ultimately this tax is the responsibility of the business owner, and as a business owner I would certainly rather be responsible for an additional 1 percent tax in a thriving mall, than not have any customers walk through my door. I would have gladly given that 1 percent discount to my customers.

Hopefully, people will come to see the new improvements and continue to come as new retailers emerge in Jefferson City!