Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Special Interests Maneuver for #Aerotropolis Tax Authority, Revenue

...this legislation would allow city and county executives appoint a three-person board to oversee millions in special tax revenues. That board could impose a special tax on the warehouses receiving the Aerotropolis subsidies, and then would oversee how those tax revenues are spent. Of those special tax revenues, 50 percent would go to the St. Louis airport. But the other 50 percent would be given to a “tax-exempt regional economic development association or associations…” The three-person board would select which association(s) would receive the money.
This, too, represents increased political power. The chief executives of Saint Louis and nearby counties will be in a position  to appoint the people who determine what agency gets part of those special tax revenues. Nothing in the Aerotropolis legislation would prevent them from appointing individuals who have a vested interest in where those special tax revenues go.
Interestingly, it seems that the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association (RCGA), the organization that pushed hard for the Aerotropolis tax credits, is a “tax-exempt regional economic development association.” There are others, such as the St. Louis County Economic Council. It appears that these organizations could qualify for the Aerotropolis special tax revenues. Awarding a steady stream of tax revenue to organizations that argued for the legislation that created that tax revenue is exceptionally poor public policy.

Meanwhile, Missouri Watchdog is reporting: "A draft of a bill for the upcoming special session expected in September is now being circulated." I wonder what, if any, changes have been made...

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