Despite Citizen Concerns, TIF Commission Approves $8.1 Million TIF to Laclede
Critics Point to Out of Control Tax Breaks and the Take Back St. Louis Initiative
ST. LOUIS -- Today, the TIF Commission voted to recommend approval to the Board of Alderman on a bill to give the Koman Group$8.1 million in tax increment financing (TIF) for Laclede Gas to move three blocks downtown to 706 Market. The TIF Commission voted with 4 yeses and 1 abstention, despite many citizens testifying with concerns about the proposal. Citizens with Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE) and the Take Back St. Louis campaign held signs and chanted when the Commission voted.
Critics pointed to the Take Back St. Louis initiative which would stop the city from giving public financial incentives to extraction companies, including Laclede, and instead redirect city development dollars towards vacant land for renewable energy and sustainability projects, as reason to delay the vote on the project. Citizens also brought up questions regarding why millionaire corporations need tax breaks, how this proposal will just leave Laclede’s existing building vacant and if this TIF would actually create any new jobs for St. Louis citizens.
“We collected 36,000 signatures for the Take Back St. Louis ballot initiative because we know we can’t rely on these appointed boards to ask tough questions. Today the TIF Commission proved us right. We will continue to fight this proposed TIF for Laclede because we know that thousands want a chance to vote on the direction of development dollar spending for the city. We believe our city should prioritize green job creation, money for the school and making this city work for the people who live here, instead of caving to the scare tactics of millionaire corporations,” said Reginald Rounds of Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE), who collected thousands of signatures for the Take Back St. Louis campaign.
MORE and the Take Back St. Louis campaign will take their concerns to the Board of Alderman, where a bill is expected to be introduced in mid-November. On November 13, the Take Back St. Louis ballot initiative will be sent to the Board of Elections to be given an election date.