If one of the indispensable purposes of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) plans is to spur private investment in a given area, the Central Area TIF District is a failure.
Today I received copies of Central Area annual reports for fiscal years 2011 and 2012 in response to a Freedom of Information Act request meant to follow up on a post from last week.
To my delight, the city has seen fit to include cumulative data in Section 5 of these latest annual reports, which tracks the amount of public investment and private investment for individual projects. Here is a summary from the FY2012 report:
This is either a reflection of terrible recordkeeping or a terrible record.
With the proposed South Fourth TIF plan, the city is promising that it can attract private investment to its south side by engaging in the very same redevelopment activities it practices in the Central Area to no avail. So why believe them? From a historical standpoint, we should expect nothing more than being forced to make 20 more years of debt service payments to the banker overlords for another series of lipstick-on-pig projects.