Sunday, September 16, 2012

First Do No Harm - Impact of TIFs - Wayne Township

In my last two posts I mentioned the fairy tales that are promulgated in order to sell TIF districts. In case you are reading this entry because of its Wayne Township focus, let me repeat some significant fairy tales and facts.

Fairy Tales Used To Sell TIFs:

First, the taxes that flow from the district before the TIF is set up will continue to flow to the schools and libraries and other taxing units, just like before. Second, the project being funded is just the thing to spark other, privately funded, economic development. This boost in economic development will spur an increase in property values that will pay for everything and we'll all be better off.

Little Know Facts About Marion County TIFs:
On Monday night the Council is set to consider Prop 15, which seeks to expand the consolidated downtown TIF in two directions - to the east by 112 acres to finance development on 0.8 acres and to the west by 604 acres to finance development on a couple of blocks.

Shouldn't the impact of current TIFs be considered before more TIFs are piled on?  Unfortunately for all residents of Marion County, but particularly for those in Center and Wayne Township, Councillors did not ask a single question about Prop 15 at the August 27 meeting of the Metropolitan & Economic Development committee meeting.  It was an appalling affair for many reasons.  And the lack of prudent public representation was part of the reason it was appalling.

There is a huge impact on Wayne Township due to the existing TIFs.  Of all taxable property in Wayne Township, 10.9 % is in a TIF district increment and all property taxes flow to the TIF fund and not the schools, libraries, etc.
  • for Speedway government and Speedway schools, 19.1 % of total property value is in a TIF
  • for Wayne Township government and Wayne Township schools, 9.5 % of total property value is in a TIF
All of the Marion County TIF districts cause a combined
  • $175 thousand increase in circuit breaker penalty to the Town of Speedway
  • $20 thousand increase in circuit breaker penalty to Speedway City School Corporation
  • $1.7 million increase in circuit breaker penalty to the Wayne Township government
  • $3.4 million increase in circuit breaker penalty to the MSD Wayne Township School Corporation
There are 6 older and 1 new TIF district in Wayne Township.  None of them have a zero value for the base.

Of the 6 older TIF districts, there was a combined transfer of $118 million from the base to the increment.   Meaning that property taxes from $118 million of property value that was promised to always go to the schools, fire department, etc, is now transferred to the TIF so that it will now and forever be deposited in the TIF fund instead.
  • $5.5 million of the amount transferred out of the base was in a Speedway TIF
  • $112.9 million of the amount transferred out of the base was from TIFs within Wayne Township, but outside of Speedway.
This is a significant draw down.  The transfer of property value out of the base amounts to 4.4% of the property Wayne Township schools rely upon for funding and 2.0% of the property Speedway schools rely upon for funding.  The impact will be felt in increased taxes and increased circuit breaker penalties.

While very little of the proposed expansion of the downtown TIF appears to be in Wayne Township (the available map is grainy and very difficult to read), its impact needs to be viewed in light of existing conditions within Wayne Township and the impact of existing TIF districts on taxpayers and governmental units.

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