In your June 11 TIF critical editorial you indicate that my statement (which you quote) is untrue when, in fact, it is a correct statement of how TIF works. It also appears as if my statement reflects the thoughts of Belleville leaders, which I did not suggest. More substantively, you attempt to support your anti-TIF opinion with the advent of the new TIF free Wal-Mart project in Belleville. Supposedly, this demonstrates that the existing TIF developments in St. Clair County similarly would have occurred without TIF, a conclusion which does not logically follow, is not provable and is likely untrue. You also rely on certain findings presented in a 2011 East-West Gateway Council study. However, what you fail to mention is that this study admits “[t]he most agreed upon conclusion in the research on economic development incentives is that analysis of incentives presents enormous methodological difficulties.” And these “methodological problems make it difficult to draw conclusive results.” Your complaint is really about the qualifying provisions of the TIF law and should be addressed to state lawmakers rather than criticizing well-intended municipal leaders and developers who utilize TIF legislation in accordance with its stated purposes, qualifications and procedures to produce new projects which undeniably create jobs, useful services, sales tax revenues, long term real estate tax base enhancements, and other economic benefits for their communities where they didn’t exist before.
Kevin Vick, Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C.