Tax deals aren't all bad

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I do not understand why area residents don’t get the facts before jumping on the “no-more-taxes” bandwagon.

In response to a letter written by Jack Dalton titled “Pay for a ballpark? Why?” (Aug. 18), I must say the proposed Tax Increment Financing in North Augusta is designed to divert any new tax money generated inside the TIF district back into that district for a period of time. It does not take tax dollars from anywhere else in the county and doesn’t divert any tax dollars already being paid in the TIF district – just the new taxes generated by any improvements made in that area.

At the end of the TIF time period, any new taxes garnered due to the improvements will then go to the appropriate government entity – Aiken County, Aiken public schools, the city, etc. This project will not take any existing taxes paid by Mr. Dalton or anyone else.

As to the comment that “we do not pay taxes to build Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, Target, etc.,” I beg to differ. The state of South Carolina, Aiken County and even local cities offer tax incentives to industry all the time. Why do you think businesses such as Bridgestone and Tognum locally and BMW in the upstate located here?

Our elected officials gave them – and many others – breaks in the amount of taxes that ordinarily would be paid by such industry in exchange for the promise of jobs, property development and the ultimate value that business will have in attracting residents to the area. The tax breaks are a short-term “sacrifice” for a long-term benefit. Long after the incentives are gone, that business should remain, providing jobs and paying regular taxes.

I suppose incentives could be viewed as money out of the taxpayers’ pockets, but I prefer to think of them as a way to make the CSRA a better place to live.

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agustinian 08/27/13 - 06:52 am
The Economic Development is a Lie

Claiming that a minor league baseball stadium creates economic development is a lie. Claiming 2700 jobs is a lie.

Check this out (copy and paste into browser):

If that is the sales pitch, then demand the Developer come up with objective measurements of all the jobs created, and if they don't materialize as every study ever done demonstrates, then demand a refund of all the tax breaks.

It won't happen because they know they can make the numbers up and no one will ever be able to challenge it once all that "development" is crammed in there.

A basic tenet of management is, if you can't measure it, don't bother to consider it.

Remember, that area was going to be developed without all the tax shenanigans.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 08/27/13 - 08:37 am

Okay, the idea is that development of low-assessed privately-owned land (paid by taxpayers) will result in increased assessments and, hence, increased property tax payments. In the case of a TIF, as Ms. Britt pointed out, the increased tax payments go toward paying off the bonds the city used to pay for the development (instead of going into the general fund as they would if there were no TIF).

But in this convoluted case involving Project Jackson, much of the development will be government owned, and thus there will be no taxes paid on that. Am I wrong? The new parking deck will be owned by the city. The new baseball park will be owned by the city. The new convention center will be owned by the city. That's taking quite a chunk of land off the tax rolls, isn't it?

jimmymac 08/27/13 - 09:09 am

I've been to a Green Jackets game in Augusta and the park is usually less that half full. What makes N. Augusta leaders all of a sudden think that this is going to all of a sudden change interest. Do you think that the few miles from N. Augusta across the river to the current stadium is keeping attendance down? No wonder our country is in such a crisis financially. Current elected officials are playing Monopoly with taxpayers money. It's just a big game to them playing with fake money. Throw them all out at the next election and get some responsible leadership in office.

pearlthesquirrel 08/27/13 - 09:13 am

Do I have to say it again? I guess the answer to that is YES! "Companies / corporations / businesses love to have costs socialized but love it even more when profits are privatized!"
I didn't get "free water for a year" when I bought my house.
I didn't get "free or reduced electrical" for a year when I bought my house.
I didn't get free "we'll cut those pesky tree branches and bushes for you" when I bought my house.
Let me spell it out for "We, the people...." You do not live in a democracy, you live in a plutocracy within an oligarchy within a corporatocracy." Got it? Good.

t3bledsoe 08/27/13 - 11:00 am
jimmymac @ 9:09

"No wonder our country is in such a crisis financially. Current elected officials are playing Monopoly with taxpayers money. It's just a big game to them playing with fake money. Throw them all out at the next election and get some responsible leadership in office."

THAT'S the way to tell them ! Putting school tax dollars and county tax dollars toward a project THAT "MAY" positively impact North Augusta IS NOT FAIR to the rest of Aiken County !!

gargoyle 08/27/13 - 09:22 pm
What if there isn't enough

What if there isn't enough increased tax revenue to cover the bonds or the hotel, developer, or baseball team goes bust, what are the protections for the bond holder?

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