• Cathy O'Connor

local control keeps TIFs accountable

Across the country, cities are increasingly important drivers of economic performance. As Brookings Institution Vice President Bruce Katz describes, local governments are taking control of their own destinies and becoming deliberate about their economic growth.

These actions vary from state to state, against a backdrop of different laws and tax structures and with a mixture of tools. Under these diverse conditions, generalizing about the effectiveness of any given tool is difficult. One example is tax increment financing, or TIF, which is established by different state laws and used differently in each community.

In Oklahoma, state law provides several protections not available everywhere, for added transparency, accountability, and effectiveness of TIF. Unlike some states, Oklahoma guarantees a seat at the table for every jurisdiction that might be affected by a TIF district – school district, county, career-tech center, health department and library system – plus three representatives of the public at large. Oklahoma law also requires annual reports on every TIF, which are published in the paper and sent to the head of all the affected jurisdictions.

Additionally, Oklahoma law restricts where TIFs can be used to those areas that are undeveloped, underdeveloped, or blighted. By focusing TIFs on areas where growth is difficult or impossible without assistance, the TIFs help generate private investment and economic activity, rather than simply moving it around.

Read the full article at The Journal Record.

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