In Sunday’s Denver Post perspective page, Independence Institute senior fellow Randal O’Toole explains that using Tax Increment Financing (TIF) subsidies to finance private-sector development is really just a form of corporate welfare, and uses the proposed TIF financed Gaylord Entertainment hotel and conference center deal in Aurora as an example of “…the mania that has led to a nationwide glut in convention centers with urban-renewal tax subsidies that are eating holes in the budgets of school districts, fire departments, and other vital services.”
Once some developments are subsidized, developers will refuse to build anything else unless they, too, are subsidized. Urban-renewal subsidies thus become a vicious circle. That’s a major reason TIF is one of the fastest- growing parts of government, increasing an average of 10 percent per year in many states. In California, which invented TIF in 1952, urban-renewal districts are collecting about $160 a year for every resident of the state.