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.