SLDC Proposes New Guidelines for Tax Abatement

SLDC is proposing a new set of guidelines for residential tax abatement on projects under $1 million. A map outlining the recommendations was sent to the Housing, Urban Development and Zoning (HUDZ) committee for review and input today. If approved as currently proposed the majority of the central corridor would no longer be eligible for residential tax abatement while most of north city and sections of south city including Gravois Park and Dutchtown would be eligible for 10 years of abatement at 95% and 5 years at 50%. 

 

The recommendations come after mounting pressure from organizations like Team TIF which have sought to reform public incentives for more equitable development. 

A 2016 brief from Washington University’s Center for Social Development recommended that “Tax abatement should be focused in areas with fewer economic resources—places that meet a conventional definition of the term “blighted.” As the evidence suggests, tax abatements are most effective when they are used in these areas. As suggested by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Saint Louis officials must determine their goals for tax incentives, and evaluate whether current policies are meeting these goals.”

Alderman Scott Ogilvie posted on social media in response to the recommendation “The more “unnecessary” incentives are approved, the more residents lose confidence in these programs. We also should strive to provide only the level of incentive required to facilitate development and no more. Hopefully this map is a good step towards a better data-driven, less ad hoc approach to existing programs, and a way to reduce the influence individual aldermen can sometimes exert on the process.”