Editorials

Money miracle at the Shrine

Tonight the Belleville City Council will vote on an incentive package that doubles the tax incentives to $38 million for the Illinois 15 projects across from the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows.

That kind of money is hard to fathom, and the ongoing argument about tax increment financing sucking away tax dollars that government bodies tend to replace with new taxes may be on some folks’ minds.

However this deal shows every sign that Belleville leaders are getting it right: The taxes being handed to the developers are generated by the development itself; if developers do not deliver, they do not get any more money.

Plus, Belleville still expects to see tax revenue on an ongoing basis — possibly $1 million a year. There will be 1 percent in sales taxes going to city coffers, just like it gets on other purchases in the city. There will also be 2 percentage points of the motel taxes going to the city.

Plus if this development hits its $100 million potential with four hotels, a soccer tournament facility, convention center, Hofbrauhaus and other restaurants, convenience store, then the people drawn to that type of destination will likely spill over to other local businesses and attractions. Oh yes, and there might be a bunch of new jobs at that large of a development.

“Right now on that land we’re getting zero,” Mayor Mark Eckert said last week.

Right. We’re still trying to see the downside.

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