TIFs provide financial aid to developers who promise to build something. This financial aid is from the taxpayers.
Most TIFs are proposed to provide additional retail businesses. Businesses require shoppers with money. Shoppers need jobs to make money. “X” number of shoppers can support one business; if you have two businesses, you need “2X” shoppers to support two businesses. But if you only have “X” shoppers, each business gets only half of the shoppers’ business and only half the available money.
Therefore it would appear you need more jobs to support more businesses. TIFs for retail businesses do not provide many jobs, if any, that sell to outside markets. If TIFs manufactured or produced products for sales outside the area, this would mean more money coming into the area than going out. This would make more money available to spend within the area, at which time more retail businesses could be added. Which comes first, the cart or the horse?
Added retail businesses provide limited increases in jobs, which could increase blighted areas by just spreading out a limited number of dollars. Is the downtown commercial center busier than before TIFs?
The question is, do TIFs add to the economy or subtract from it? Who makes the money?