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Editorials published by the Goffstown Residents Association are written by various members and contributing non-members of the GRA.

TIF districts just pick our pockets

February 2, 2007

On March 13, 2007, the citizens of Goffstown will be asked to vote on Article 23, 24 & 25.  These articles will have great impact on our tax dollars.  By creating a Tax Increment Finance District, we will have a development that will be paid for by we, the taxpayers, unaware that our pockets are being picked.  It is a subterfuge of finance that puts a smile on subsidizing developers by the taxpayers.  

You may be told that no tax revenues will be lost.  The allure of the TIF Districts is that all or most of the increased tax revenue from an improved property go to pay off the improvements.  All additional taxes due pay off the cost of the improvements for the duration of the TIF District.  

TIF districts usually run for 15 - 20 years.  As an example:  Let's say a lot is vacant or undeveloped, and this lot pays $10,000 in taxes a year to the town.  Now, the improvement on this property brings the value to $50,000 in taxes, but $40,000 will go to pay off the improvement’s financing and the town will received only $10,000 in tax dollars.  As the improvements continue and the valuation in tax dollars increases, the town still receives only the $10,000 dollars for taxes.  

Is this a great deal?  I’ll say it is - for the developer.

Furthermore, the improved property will require increased town services, i.e., police, fire protection, public works, sewer, water, possibly schools depending on the development.  One can quibble with the degree to which each of these are affected, but it cannot be denied that a new development will rely on town services more than a vacant lot would, and for only a fraction of the cost of the vacant lot. 

You would think that if a developer had a dream and believed in it, the developer would take the risk and put up the money and bring forth a booming development.  The development we now have in this town did not seek subsidizing from the taxpayers. 

Should we snub our noses at the developers of the past and refuse to recognize their risk?

Government spending has increased.  Now, the taxpayers are asked not only to subsidize selected improvements, but to fund the bureaucracy that decides who will get the TIF deals, and under what circumstances. 

On Monday, January 22nd, these Articles were presented by the Planning Coordinator with the pretense that the Selectmen would take a stand.  They did nothing on these Articles.  Where is there accountability, and are they really out to save our tax dollars?

One would ask:  Are there successful projects based on TIFs in other towns or cities?  Yes, wildly successful – for the developers. They enjoy while we pay.

Say NO to TIF in Goffstown.


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