It might be a slight change, but an important one for those fighting what they see as abuses of a popular tax break for retailers. Preliminary approval is given in the House to slight changes when retailers use Tax Increment Financing, known as TIF. Representative Tom Dempsey of St. Charles calls TIF a great program, with problems. The bill he and Representative Bob Johnson of Lee’s Summit sponsor would not allow a TIF to apply for more than 20-percent of a project’s cost and no more than 25-percent of the project could use undeveloped land, such as farmland. Johnson argues the TIF was created in 1982 to lure development to truly blighted areas in order to create jobs. He says the current use of retail TIFs has strayed far from that original intent. Johnson doubts he has time to push through the bill this year, but wants to let cities and retailers know the Legislature isn’t happy about how the tax incentive is being used.
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