In St. Louis and other cities and towns in Missouri, the use of TIFs and tax incentives to encourage development is rampant. In Columbia, Illinois, it is different. In the St. Louis Post Dispatch today an article discusses why the Columbia city council voted against two huge developments, one of which could have brought Legoland to the Midwest. One of the main reasons given by alderman Brad Oberkfell was that he wouldn't support any project that would need tax incentives:
Previously, the council had supported exploring development opportunities involving Columbia Crossing. But that was before the April election. Three newly elected council members, including Oberkfell, ran on campaigns against using tax incentives for development purposes. And Oberkfell said the proposed theme park plan involved the potential use of tax incentives.
These leaders understand that economic growth happens when businesses see opportunities there, not because they receive tax incentives and TIFs. If businesses see potential profits in a certain area, they will come to cities to start businesses anyway. Congrats to Columbia on not giving away taxpayer dollars for private companies!