For the record I have never been against abatements and have regularly said I prefer abatements to TIF for a variety of reasons.
1) Abatements are a shorter time period (max of 10 years) than TIF.
2) Abatements (ERA) have to be approved at town council meetings instead of redevelopment. There is more openness in that regard. (Not that the public can't go to redevelopment meetings, but they just don't. They don't understand it's still their tax money being spent at RD meetings. The politicians, newspapers and lobbyists have convinced the public that it's a separate pot that doesn't affect them.)
3) Abatements actually lower taxes, and as a fiscal conservative that's my preference.
I dislike when abatements are based on how many jobs a company will bring to an area because that tends to benefit the big over the small. And small business is the backbone of a community. Big business often picks up and leaves when the incentives run out.
Right now, they're not asking for infrastructure, so I'm ok with the ERA. My only preference, which I told Rhodes after the meeting, is that if we're going to say an ERA increases the market value of a property then it should be more proactively done rather than reactive. Reason being, if an ERA supposedly makes land more valuable, then perhaps 2 buyers might have been interested in this parcel and raised the price of the land... which cannot be abated. At least then market forces would have some play.
What makes the land more valuable? The fact that taxpayers will subsidize.
That said, I dislike the idea that business supposedly can no longer do business without taxpayer subsidies. I think that's false at its core. It's just we've trained them to ask at this point. And critics of the practice, like myself, are not cared for much by those who benefit from them. A career politician can't afford to take a critical stance without offending the lobbyists.
just my two cents!
Edited by Tina, 25 November 2015 - 08:35 PM.