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Thread: Luther Strange Swamp Pal Bob Corker to Receive More Money from Alabama Taxpayers Than

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    Luther Strange Swamp Pal Bob Corker to Receive More Money from Alabama Taxpayers Than

    Luther Strange Swamp Pal Bob Corker to Receive More Money from Alabama Taxpayers Than Senate Salary

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    by MICHAEL PATRICK LEAHY22 Sep 2017


    Sen. Luther Strange’s (R-AL) swamp pal, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), is set to receive more money each year from Alabama taxpayers from the sweetheart deal in an Alabama retail development arranged by a law firm that is a big donor to Strange’s Senate campaign than he receives from his salary as a United States senator.

    Under the terms of that sweetheart deal signed off on by the Mobile City Council and the Mobile County Commission, Corker, as a 13 percent owner of McGowin Park Incentive, LLC, a Delaware Corporation, receives a prorated split of that entity’s hefty sales tax rebate from retail purchases made at stores in McGowin Park retail center in Mobile Alabama. The center is a huge development opened in 2015 of more than 24 stores, including “Dick’s Sporting Goods, Field & Stream, HomeGoods, Ross Dress for Less, Hobby Lobby, Best Buy, Old Navy, Petco, Ashley Furniture HomeStore and Dollar Tree,” as one publication noted, strategically located right off heavily traveled I-65.


    That rebate is substantial; 28 percent of all city sales tax collected and 30 percent of all county sales tax collected from stores in the center is paid out to McGowin Park Incentive, LLC, in two securities known as City of Mobile Limited Obligation Project Revenue Warrants, Series 2013 and Mobile County Limited Obligation Project Revenue Warrants, Series 2013.


    Corker received $40,459 in 2015 and $108,682 in income from City of Mobile Limited Obligation Project Revenue Warrants, Series 2013, and Mobile County Limited Obligation Project Revenue Warrants, Series 2013, according to financial reports he filed with the United States Senate. He is scheduled to receive $155,500 in income from those warrants in 2017; $168,808 in 2018; $192,000 in 2019; and $192,000 a year for the next 15-and-a-half years.


    During the twenty years in which he receives money from this deal, Corker is expected to receive more than $3 million of the Mobile, Alabama, city and county sales tax revenue paid by customers who make purchases at the McGowin Park retail center in Mobile.
    Corker’s current annual salary as a United States senator is $174,000 per year. If Corker were to win a third term in the United States Senate, his salary in 2019–the first year of that third term–is currently anticipated to be the same: $174,000 per year, or $18,000 less than he will receive from the City of Mobile and Mobile County.

    Corker was part of the Republican establishment chorus that persuaded President Trump to rally in Huntsville, Alabama, Friday night with Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) tonight, according to multiple press reports. Strange trails conservative grassroots champion Judge Roy Moore in the Alabama Republican primary runoff election to be held next Tuesday by more than 8 points, according to the latest Real Clear Politics average of polls.
    Corker’s affinity for his establishment Republican allies in Alabama is understandable given the role played by the Alabama law firm that donated $28,000 to Strange’s Senate campaign in setting up the sweetheart deal in the Mobile, Alabama, McGowin Park retail development.

    Mobile’s 2016 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report does not show how much the city paid in Limited Obligation Project Revenue Warrants, Series 2013, issued to McGowin Park, LLC, in 2013 and subsequently assigned to McGowin Park Incentive, LLC, in 2014, in FY 2016.

    Breitbart News contacted the comptroller of the City of Mobile to understand why the city has failed to include this specific expenditure line item — who referred us to the director of media, who has responded but not yet provided an answer.

    According to Annual Reports Sen. Corker filed with the U.S. Senate between 2014 and 2016, he made an investment in an entity known as McGowin Park, LLC, an Alabama corporation, valued at between $1 million and $5 million on July 11, 2014, for which he received a 13.7 percent interest.


    McGowin Park, LLC, is an investment vehicle controlled by the Hutton Co., a Chattanooga, Tennessee, real estate development company whose CEO, Karen Hutton, has been a longtime financial contributor to Sen. Corker. It was formed for the purpose of developing the McGowin Park retail center in Mobile, Alabama.
    As Breitbart News reported Wednesday:

    In August and September 2014, both the City of Mobile and Mobile County took the unusual step of protecting the developer in which Corker now had a 13 percent interest, McGowin Park, LLC, from losing its sales tax rebate in the event the lender providing much of the financing to the project, Wells Fargo, decided to foreclose on the collateral pledged to secure that loan.


    At its August 19, 2014, board meeting, the Mobile City Council took the apparently unprecedented step of authorizing the assignment of City of Mobile Limited Obligation Project Revenue Warrants, Series 2013, for the McGowin Park Shopping Center from McGowin Park, LLC, to McGowin Park Incentive, LLC, for the stated purpose of insuring that the project lender, Wells Fargo Bank, would not be able to attach the warrants as collateral.

    When the Mobile City Council separated the sales tax rebates (warrants) from McGowin Park, LLC, which owns the retail development, and placed those sales tax rebates in the legal control of McGowin Park Incentive, LLC, it provided a huge financial benefit to Sen. Corker.


    The McGowin Park retail center was sold for $77 million this year. Its owner, McGowin Park, LLC, made a significant profit in the form of a capital gain on the original investment. As a 13 percent owner of McGowin Park, LLC, Sen. Corker presumably received a handsome profit off the $1 million to $5 million investment he made in McGowin Park, LLC, just three years earlier, in July 2014.


    But in addition to that profit, Sen. Corker apparently retains the 20 year flow of income from the sales tax rebate warrants that were transferred from McGowin Park, LLC, to McGowin Park Incentive, LLC, in August and September 2014 by the Mobile City Council and the Mobile County Commission.

    Breitbart News asked Mobile City Attorney Ricardo Woods if he advised the City Council and mayor to approve this assignment, since the official minutes make no mention of his advice on the matter.

    Breitbart News also asked for the legal reasoning behind that advice and if Mr. Woods requested formal or informal advice from outside parties prior to providing that advice to the City Council and the mayor, either from former Attorney General Luther Strange, anyone in the attorney general’s Office, or other outside counsel.
    Mr. Woods has not responded to our inquiries.

    One month later, in its September 19, 2014, meeting, the Mobile County Commission took the unusual step of authorizing the assignment of Mobile County Limited Obligation Project Revenue Warrants, Series 2013, for the McGowin Park Shopping Center from McGowin Park, LLC, to McGowin Park Incentive, LLC, for the stated purpose of insuring that the project lender, Wells Fargo Bank, would not be able to attach the warrants as collateral.

    According to the minutes of that meeting, Mobile County Commission President Hudson asked County Attorney Jay Ross if he recommended “the Commission to authorize the developer to transfer the Warrant to a Special Purpose LLC?”

    “Mr. Ross said yes. He said the City of Mobile recently approved a similar request about a month ago. Mr. Ross said it did not affect the County’s liability; it was an internal financial issue,” according to the minutes.

    Breitbart News asked Ross what additional legal standard he used in providing that advice to the Mobile County Commission, besides the fact that the city of Mobile had done the same thing a month earlier.

    Breitbart News also asked Ross if he requested formal or informal advice from outside parties prior to providing that advice to the County Commission, either from former Attorney General Luther Strange, anyone in the attorney general’s Office, or other outside counsel.

    Mr. Ross has not responded to our inquiries.

    Alvin Hope, a partner with Maynard, Cooper, & Gale, the Alabama law firm whose partners and political action committee donated $28,000 to Luther Strange’s 2017 Senate campaign, represented McGowin Park, LLC, the development company in which Sen. Corker had just acquired a 13 percent interest, at the September 19, 2014, Mobile County Commission Board meeting.

    It was at his request that the Mobile County Commission authorized the assignment of warrants from McGowin Park, LLC, to McGowin Park Incentive, LLC.

    At the time of these actions in 2014, Sen. Luther Strange was serving as Alabama attorney general.

    Breitbart News asked current Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall whether former Attorney General Strange had any oversight responsibilities related to the sales tax rebate deal between the City of Mobile and McGowin Park, LLC, the sales tax rebate deal between Mobile County and McGowin Park, LLC, or the subsequent issuance of bonds by The Improvement District of the City of Mobile – McGowin Park Project and The Improvement District of Mobile County – McGowin Park Project.

    Breitbart News also asked whether local government officials had requested a formal opinion or informal communication from former Attorney General Strange as to the legal status of the sales tax rebate deal between the City of Mobile and McGowin Park, LLC, that was approved by the Mobile City Council on July 23, 2013, either before or after that meeting.

    Neither Alabama Attorney General Marshall nor anyone from his office has responded to our requests.
    Breitbart News also asked Sen. Corker to confirm or deny the details of the income he is scheduled to receive from the City of Mobile Limited Obligation Project Revenue Warrants, Series 2013, and Mobile County Limited Obligation Project Revenue Warrants, Series 2013, annually until 2035 but received no response.

    UPDATE:


    Senator Corker’s office responded after our deadline with this three paragraph response:

    We think the amounts you are referencing are based on hypothetical sales projections and are not guaranteed to the investors.Furthermore, Senator Corker had nothing whatsoever to do with the agreement between McGowin Park and the Mobile City Council and Mobile County Commission. As is custom in development projects, such agreements were in place long in advance of Senator Corker first being approached about being an investor in the project. And regarding your original report, the senator did disclose the value of the assets in both 2015 and 2016.

    We are aware that the senator’s investments are of great interest to numbers of self-interested individuals, including large Wall Street hedge funds who are seeking to discredit Senator Corker and the work he is doing to protect taxpayers and reform our nation’s housing finance system. False accusations have been floating around D.C. since early 2015 in an effort to discredit him while he’s doing this important work.

    It is disappointing that error-ridden opposition research we have strong reason to believe was compiled by the politically-motivated firm Fusion GSP – which sought to take down President Trump with a controversial dossier and is currently under investigation by the Senate Judiciary Committee – is now being used in an attempt to connect dots that simply do not exist.


    Breitbart News states unequivocally that Fusion-GSP was not our source for this report.



    http://www.breitbart.com/big-governm...payers-salary/




    Last edited by GeorgiaPeach; 09-22-2017 at 07:32 PM.
    Jeremiah 29:11 - It is written, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

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    Ezekiel 22:12-14 In you they take bribes to shed blood; you take usury and increase; you have made profit from your neighbors by extortion, and have forgotten Me,” says the Lord God.

    Behold, therefore, I beat My fists at the dishonest profit which you have made, and at the bloodshed which has been in your midst. 14 Can your heart endure, or can your hands remain strong, in the days when I shall deal with you? I, the Lord, have spoken, and will do it.
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    I don't understand what Breitbart is trying to do here. Communities and cities all across the country hope and pray some investment company takes an interest in their city or town and does a project to build a new plant or a new shopping center or new mixed use development. These projects are difficult, time-consuming, extremely complicated and take years to get off the ground and into service, years during which they spend millions of dollars with no return on investment at all. Most projects are financed by banks who are on their ass every single day with threats of foreclosure to steal the project. The margins are small so the projects have to be large to ever generate a return and the larger they are, the more capital it takes and the more time required.

    Because of this, developers decided to ask for incentives from communities to bring their expertise, money and time to a particular community to do a project. These incentives are usually some form of tax abatement. Retail centers pay both sales tax and property tax, along with their state and federal income tax and all the other taxes. So communities decided it was in their best interest to abate portions of the sales and property taxes for a period of years in exchange for the investment, jobs and services they would receive in return for the development.

    There was no fixed formula for how the tax reductions are achieved, each community and developer work it out and present it to their city council or county commission or whoever is in charge. They hold all types of public hearings and like anything else, some will oppose and some will support. Ultimately the city and county elected officials vote on it and sometimes they reject the incentive proposal and sometimes they support it, depends on the project and the benefits to be derived for the area. There is tremendous spin-off in huge areas surrounding these new centers, everyone benefits for miles, new housing, new apartments, hotels, other stores, banks, with everyone wanting to be close to the new shopping center to reap the benefits of the markets it draws.

    I really don't understand Breitbart News opposing tax incentives that encourage development and re-development of our towns and cities. It's bizarre. It's as bizarre and another article they wrote about Strange having invested in a company that raised the money to build on a a large expansion to a Baptist hospital somewhere in Alabama.

    Since when were Republicans or any Real American for that matter against expanding hospitals, creating beautiful new shopping centers in our towns and cities or offering tax incentives/reductions to get it???!!!

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    Tax Increment Financing: A Bad Bargain for Taxpayers


    By Daniel McGraw
    First published by Reason Magazine, January, 2006

    The decision was made easier by the financing plan that Fort Worth will use to accommodate Cabela’s. The site of the Fort Worth Cabela’s has been designated a tax increment financing (TIF) district, which means taxes on the property will be frozen for 20 to 30 years.If you’re imagining an attraction that will draw 4.5 million out-of-town visitors a year, the first thing that jumps to mind probably isn’t a store that sells guns and fishing rods and those brown jackets President Bush wears to clear brush at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. Yet last year Cabela’s, a Nebraska-based hunting and fishing mega-store chain with annual sales of $1.7 billion, persuaded the politicians of Fort Worth that bringing the chain to an affluent and growing area north of the city was worth $30 million to $40 million in tax breaks. They were told that the store, the centerpiece of a new retail area, would draw more tourists than the Alamo in San Antonio or the annual State Fair of Texas in Dallas, both of which attract 2.5 million visitors a year.

    Largely because it promises something for nothing—an economic stimulus in exchange for tax revenue that otherwise would not materialize—this tool is becoming increasingly popular across the country. Originally used to help revive blighted or depressed areas, TIFs now appear in affluent neighborhoods, subsidizing high-end housing developments, big-box retailers, and shopping malls. And since most cities are using TIFs, businesses such as Cabela’s can play them off against each other to boost the handouts they receive simply to operate profit-making enterprises.

    A Crummy Way to Treat Taxpaying Citizens

    TIFs have been around for more than 50 years, but only recently have they assumed such importance. At a time when local governments’ efforts to foster development, from direct subsidies to the use of eminent domain to seize property for private development, are already out of control, TIFs only add to the problem: Although politicians portray TIFs as a great way to boost the local economy, there are hidden costs they don’t want taxpayers to know about. Cities generally assume they are not really giving anything up because the forgone tax revenue would not have been available in the absence of the development generated by the TIF. That assumption is often wrong.

    “There is always this expectation with TIFs that the economic growth is a way to create jobs and grow the economy, but then push the costs across the public spectrum,” says Greg LeRoy, author of The Great American Jobs Scam: Corporate Tax Dodging and the Myth of Job Creation. “But what is missing here is that the cost of developing private business has some public costs. Road and sewers and schools are public costs that come from growth.” Unless spending is cut—and if a TIF really does generate economic growth, spending is likely to rise, as the local population grows—the burden of paying for these services will be shifted to other taxpayers. Adding insult to injury, those taxpayers may include small businesses facing competition from well-connected chains that enjoy TIF-related tax breaks. In effect, a TIF subsidizes big businesses at the expense of less politically influential competitors and ordinary citizens.

    “The original concept of TIFs was to help blighted areas come out of the doldrums and get some economic development they wouldn’t [otherwise] have a chance of getting,” says former Fort Worth City Councilman Clyde Picht, who voted against the Cabela’s TIF. “Everyone probably gets a big laugh out of their claim that they will draw more tourists than the Alamo. But what is worse, and not talked about too much, is the shift of taxes being paid from wealthy corporations to small businesses and regular people.

    “If you own a mom-and-pop store that sells fishing rods and hunting gear in Fort Worth, you’re still paying all your taxes, and the city is giving tax breaks to Cabela’s that could put you out of business,” Picht explains. “The rest of us pay taxes for normal services like public safety, building inspections, and street maintenance, and those services come out of the general fund. And as the cost of services goes up, and the money from the general fund is given to these businesses through a TIF, the tax burden gets shifted to the regular slobs who don’t have the same political clout. It’s a crummy way to treat your taxpaying, law-abiding citizens.”

    Almost every state has a TIF law, and the details vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. But most TIFs share the same general characteristics. After a local government has designated a TIF district, property taxes (and sometimes sales taxes) from the area are divided into two streams. The first tax stream is based on the original assessed value of the property before any redevelopment; the city, county, school district, or other taxing body still gets that money. The second stream is the additional tax money generated after development takes place and the property values are higher. Typically that revenue is used to pay off municipal bonds that raise money for infrastructure improvements in the TIF district, for land acquisition through eminent domain, or for direct payments to a private developer for site preparation and construction. The length of time the taxes are diverted to pay for the bonds can be anywhere from seven to 30 years.

    Local governments sell the TIF concept to the public by claiming they are using funds that would not have been generated without the TIF district. If the land was valued at $10 million before TIF-associated development and is worth $50 million afterward, the argument goes, the $40 million increase in tax value can be used to retire the bonds. Local governments also like to point out that the TIF district may increase nearby economic activity, which will be taxed at full value.

    So, in the case of Cabela’s in Fort Worth, the TIF district was created to build roads and sewers and water systems, to move streams and a lake to make the property habitable, and to help defray construction costs for the company. Cabela’s likes this deal because the money comes upfront, without any interest. Their taxes are frozen, and the bonds are paid off by what would have gone into city coffers. In effect, the city is trading future tax income for a present benefit.

    But even if the dedicated tax money from a TIF district suffices to pay off the bonds, that doesn’t mean the arrangement is cost-free. “TIFs are being pushed out there right now based upon the ‘but for’ test,” says Greg LeRoy. “What cities are saying is that no development would take place but for the TIF.…The average public official says this is free money, because it wouldn’t happen otherwise. But when you see how it plays out, the whole premise of TIFs begins to crumble.” Rather than spurring development, LeRoy argues, TIFs “move some economic development from one part of a city to another.”

    Development Would Have Occurred Anyway

    Local officials usually do not consider how much growth might occur without a TIF. In 2002 the Neighborhood Capital Budget Group (NCBG), a coalition of 200 Chicago organizations that studies local public investment, looked at 36 of the city’s TIF districts and found that property values were rising in all of them during the five years before they were designated as TIFs. The NCBG projected that the city of Chicago would capture $1.6 billion in second-stream property tax revenue—used to pay off the bonds that subsidized private businesses—over the 23-year life spans of these TIF districts. But it also found that $1.3 billion of that revenue would have been raised anyway, assuming the areas continued growing at their pre-TIF rates.

    The experience in Chicago is important. The city invested $1.6 billion in TIFs, even though $1.3 billion in economic development would have occurred anyway. So the bottom line is that the city invested $1.6 billion for $300 million in revenue growth.

    The upshot is that TIFs are diverting tax money that otherwise would have been used for government services. The NCBG study found, for instance, that the 36 TIF districts would cost Chicago public schools $632 million (based on development that would have occurred anyway) in property tax revenue, because the property tax rates are frozen for schools as well. This doesn’t merely mean that the schools get more money. If the economic growth occurs with TIFs, that attracts people to the area and thereby raises enrollments. In that case, the cost of teaching the new students will be borne by property owners outside the TIF districts.

    Such concerns have had little impact so far, in part because almost no one has examined how TIFs succeed or fail over the long term. Local politicians are touting TIFs as a way to promote development, promising no new taxes, and then setting them up without looking at potential side effects. It’s hard to discern exactly how many TIFs operate in this country, since not every state requires their registration. But the number has expanded exponentially, especially over the past decade. Illinois, which had one TIF district in 1970, now has 874 (including one in the town of Wilmington, population 129). A moderate-sized city like Janesville, Wisconsin—a town of 60,000 about an hour from Madison—has accumulated 26 TIFs. Delaware and Arizona are the only states without TIF laws, and most observers expect they will get on board soon.

    First used in California in the 1950s, TIFs were supposed to be another tool, like tax abatement and enterprise zones, that could be used to promote urban renewal. But cities found they were not very effective at drawing development into depressed areas. “They had this tool, but didn’t know what the tool was good for,” says Art Lyons, an analyst for the Chicago-based Center for Economic Policy Analysis, an economic think tank that works with community groups. The cities realized, Lyons theorizes, that if they wanted to use TIFs more, they had to get out of depressed neighborhoods and into areas with higher property values, which generate more tax revenue to pay off development bonds.

    The Entire Western World Could Be Blighted

    Until the 1990s, most states reserved TIFs for areas that could be described as “blighted,” based on criteria set forth by statute. But as with eminent domain, the definition of blight for TIF purposes has been dramatically expanded. In 1999, for example, Baraboo, Wisconsin, created a TIF for an industrial park and a Wal-Mart supercenter that were built on farmland; the blight label was based on a single house in the district that was uninhabited. In recent years 16 states have relaxed their TIF criteria to cover affluent areas, “conservation areas” where blight might occur someday, or “economic development areas,” loosely defined as commercial or industrial properties.

    The result is that a TIF can be put almost anywhere these days. Based on current criteria, says Jake Haulk, director of the Pittsburgh-based Allegheny Institute for Public Policy, you could “declare the entire Western world blighted.”

    In the late 1990s, Pittsburgh decided to declare a commercial section of its downtown blighted so it could create a TIF district for the Lazarus Department Store. The construction of the new store and a nearby parking garage cost the city more than $70 million. But the property taxes on the new store were lower than expected, as the downtown area surrounding Lazarus never took off the way the city thought it would. Sales tax receipts were also unexpectedly low. Lazarus decided to close the store last year, and the property is still on the block. Because other businesses were included in the TIF, it is impossible to predict whether the city will be on the hook for the entire $70 million. But given that the Lazarus store was the centerpiece of the development, it is safe to say this TIF is not working very well, and Pittsburgh’s taxpayers may have to pick up the tab.

    If businesses like Lazarus cannot reliably predict their own success, urban planners can hardly be expected to do a better job. Typically, big corporations come to small cities towing consultants who trot out rosy numbers, and the politicians see a future that may not materialize in five or 10 years. “The big buzzwords are economic development,” says Chris Slowik, organizational director for the South Cooperative Organization for Public Education (SCOPE), which represents about 45 school districts in the southern suburbs of Chicago, each of which includes at least one TIF. “The local governments see a vacant space and see something they like that some company might bring in. But no one thinks about what the costs might be.…They are giving away the store to get a store.” Big-box retail chains such as Target and Wal-Mart seem to be the most frequent beneficiaries of TIFs. (Neither company would comment for this story, and local politicians generally shied away as well.)
    Given the competition between cities eager to attract new businesses, TIFs are not likely to disappear anytime soon. “Has it gone overboard?” asks University of North Texas economist Terry Clower. “Sure.…But the problem is that if a city doesn’t offer some tax incentives, the company will just move down the road.” According to Clower, “In a utopian world, there would be no government handouts, and every business would pay the same tax rate. But if a city stands up and says they aren’t doing [TIFs] anymore, they will lose out.”
    Instead, it’s the competitors of TIF-favored businesses that lose out. Academy Sports & Outdoors, which employs 6,500 people, has about 80 sporting goods stores in eight Southern states, including a store in Fort Worth. When the Fort Worth City Council was considering the TIF for Cabela’s, Academy Sports Chairman David Gochman spoke out against the tax incentives, realizing that his company is a big business, but not big enough. “This is not a nonprofit, not a library, not a school,” he said. “They are a for-profit business, a competitor of ours, along with Oshman’s and Wal-Mart and others.”

    TIFs Have Become the Standard Handout

    Al Dalton, owner of Texas Outdoors, a 10,000-square-foot hunting and fishing shop in Fort Worth, echoed the sentiment that the city was favoring one business over another. “We don’t have the buying power, and we don’t have the advertising dollars,” Dalton said. “It doesn’t make any difference even if we’ve got the best price in town if nobody knows about it. The deep pockets, in every way, [make] a lot of difference.”

    And that may be the key to understanding how TIFs are now applied: The companies with the deep pockets are able to fill them with subsidies.

    The Cabela’s location in Fort Worth does not fit any of the blight criteria people had in mind when TIFs were first created. The 225,000-square-foot store, with its waterfalls, multitude of stuffed animals, and wild game café, sits on prime property just off Interstate 35. It is a few miles down the road from the Texas Motor Speedway (which has its own TIF), and the 200,000 NASCAR and IRL fans who attend races there three times a year—not to mention the fans who come to the speedway’s concerts and other special events—might want to shop at Cabela’s.

    The area around Cabela’s is affluent and has been growing for years. A half-dozen shopping centers nearby were on the drawing board well before the TIF was considered. Within a five-mile radius of the hunting/fishing megastore, 10,000 new homes have been built since 2000. That same area is expected to grow by 20,000 people in the next two years.
    But the argument against the “but for” assumption is not being heard. In 2004 a state judge threw out a lawsuit against the Cabela’s TIF by a Fort Worth citizens’ group that claimed blight was never proven, and that the city was misusing TIFs in a prosperous area that needed no tax breaks for future development. The blight designation came from a pond and stream on the property. It was an odd designation, given that the property is in a prime development area and ponds and streams are not what one would classify as blighted.
    The press releases and newspaper articles about the new Cabela’s emphasize that the store is going to draw more people to Texas than visit the Alamo (the studies were done by Cabela’s). The press release never mentions that a Bass Pro Shop store, part of a chain almost identical to Cabela’s, is just 10 miles down the road. While Cabela’s was negotiating its TIF with Fort Worth, it was also negotiating a TIF with the city of Buda, 120 miles away, outside of Austin. Cabela’s got about $20 million from Buda, and the same tourist claims are being made there. If each Texas store is going to draw 4.5 million tourists, as the chain claims, that means 9 million people will be coming to Texas every year just to visit the two Cabela’s stores.

    “The notion that a hunting store would draw all these tourists is ridiculous,” says Greg LeRoy. “But what is even more ridiculous is cities thinking that tax breaks are the primary reason businesses relocate or expand in certain areas. There are so many other factors at play—transportation costs, good employment available, housing costs and quality of life for executives—that the tax breaks like TIFs aren’t very high up on their priority list. But these corporations are asking for them—and getting them—because everyone is giving them out. TIFs have become the standard handout, and the businesses have learned how to play one city off the other. Businesses would be stupid for not asking for them every time.”

    If TIFs continue to multiply at the present rate, we may see the day when every new 7-Eleven and McDonald’s has its own TIF. That prospect may seem farfetched, but it wasn’t too long ago that cities wouldn’t even have considered giving up tens of millions of dollars in exchange for yet another store selling guns and fishing rods.

    http://reclaimdemocracy.org/tax_increment_financing/

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    These are local decisions by the people and elected officials of the city and community to do what's best for their town, city or county. We had a tax incentive for a new mall issue in my town. The initial prime anchor was Target. Target demanded it, they weren't coming if the developers didn't get it. Period. It was a huge political deal because some stores in other older areas had leases coming up for renewal and would probably want to leave the old failing mall and move to the new one. It was very controversial. It wasn't a TIF, it was just 10 years of sales tax and some property tax reductions. There were mostly new stores that weren't here that moved in, but 1 department store and 1 grocery store did move to the new mall from other locations in our town.

    It's beautiful and brought in all types of new businesses that we didn't have before. The old mall owners sued the city and they worked out a settlement. There's not a soul left in our town or the portions of 7 counties that shop in our city regardless of what their position was back then on the tax incentives deal who would want it any other way than the way the City Council voted. Everyone not only loves the new stores and the new development that occurred around this beautiful mall, they love the enormous increase in the tax base that resulted from the new development that has helped keep our tax rates low while still funding all the needs of our city and county.

    I think Breitbart is causing a lot of its readers to scratch their heads.

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    Judy wrote (excerpt):

    I think Breitbart is causing a lot of its readers to scratch their heads.
    Is it possible your 'Trump is never wrong' mentality may be be effecting your judgement? I think Breitbart's doing a great job and I appreciate the information they're providing the public with their investigative reporting. You don't have to like the content or even agree with it. Although, I believe your problem with it is the potential damage it may cause Trump. Personally, I'm not sure the election of Roy Moore will damage Trump, but I'm fairly certain he thinks it will.

    For Trump's own piece of mind, he should have stayed out of the process and allowed Alabama voters to make their own choice without his interference.

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" ** Edmund Burke**

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  7. #7
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    MW wrote:

    Is it possible your 'Trump is never wrong' mentality may be be effecting your judgement?
    No, it isn't possible. I know junk reporting wherever it exists.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judy View Post
    I don't understand what Breitbart is trying to do here. Communities and cities all across the country hope and pray some investment company takes an interest in their city or town and does a project to build a new plant or a new shopping center or new mixed use development. These projects are difficult, time-consuming, extremely complicated and take years to get off the ground and into service, years during which they spend millions of dollars with no return on investment at all. Most projects are financed by banks who are on their ass every single day with threats of foreclosure to steal the project. The margins are small so the projects have to be large to ever generate a return and the larger they are, the more capital it takes and the more time required.

    Because of this, developers decided to ask for incentives from communities to bring their expertise, money and time to a particular community to do a project. These incentives are usually some form of tax abatement. Retail centers pay both sales tax and property tax, along with their state and federal income tax and all the other taxes. So communities decided it was in their best interest to abate portions of the sales and property taxes for a period of years in exchange for the investment, jobs and services they would receive in return for the development.

    There was no fixed formula for how the tax reductions are achieved, each community and developer work it out and present it to their city council or county commission or whoever is in charge. They hold all types of public hearings and like anything else, some will oppose and some will support. Ultimately the city and county elected officials vote on it and sometimes they reject the incentive proposal and sometimes they support it, depends on the project and the benefits to be derived for the area. There is tremendous spin-off in huge areas surrounding these new centers, everyone benefits for miles, new housing, new apartments, hotels, other stores, banks, with everyone wanting to be close to the new shopping center to reap the benefits of the markets it draws.

    I really don't understand Breitbart News opposing tax incentives that encourage development and re-development of our towns and cities. It's bizarre. It's as bizarre and another article they wrote about Strange having invested in a company that raised the money to build on a a large expansion to a Baptist hospital somewhere in Alabama.

    Since when were Republicans or any Real American for that matter against expanding hospitals, creating beautiful new shopping centers in our towns and cities or offering tax incentives/reductions to get it???!!!
    Breitbart is exposing the dirty little underside of politics and how they hit the jackpot when they become Congressmen or Senators and become millionaires on a government salary.
    MW likes this.
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  9. #9
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    In my opinion, Luther Strange's latest claim is that he "didn't even know Mitch McConnell until he got to Washington a few months ago" is disingenuous.

    Really?, What a load o crap! McConnell has been in DC so long he has developed barnacles and Strange's time as a lobbyist overlapped McConnell for years.

    Politicians and lobbyists all travel in the same political circles in DC ..with the lobbyists picking up the tab.
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