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The St Louis Contrarian

Providing Independent and Intelligent Insight on St. Louis Public Policy Issues

Archive for the tag “economic development”

The Disparity in the Results of Economic Growth

nyti.ms/2LwayDs

An excellent article about the subject in the New York Times.

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North side St.Louis Blight

www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/four-years-after-michael-brown-was-killed-ferguson-neighborhood-still/article_3ef83c33-eb08-5016-9a83-2b7f7529355c.html

An article from Post about terrible pile of debris left from site preparation work. It shows that once again people in central city are not taken seriously

University City Development

www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/news/2018/05/29/university-city-development-proposal-mirrors.html

A very thoughtful article in the Business journal about the proposed development at 170 and Olive in University City. This is a big project and many homeowners could be displaced. They would receive just economic benefit but the overall cost to them and the community is large. Written by Paul Dribin

Six Things That “One Hundred” Tells Us – NextSTL

Six Things That “One Hundred” Tells Us – NextSTL
— Read on nextstl.com/2018/05/six-things-that-one-hundred-tells-us/

A good and thorough article in Next Stl about the lavish 100 building going up on the east side of Forest Park.

The problems with economic development

nyti.ms/2FZ1LYU

Excellent article from nut

Regional Chamber Again

Donnybrook tonight had a good discussion about the dismissal of Joe Regan as President of the Regional Chamber. The panelists comments were the same as mine, what does the organization accomplish, are the staff too highly paid, why do we need them. All good questions. Written by Paul Dribin

Community Development Subsidies in St. Louis

Community activists are outraged by TIFs , tax abatement, and other forms of development subsidies in St. Louis. There is justification for these beliefs. Another development subsidy which is more pervasive is more damaging. This takes place with the development of affordable housing where block grant funds are used to subsidize the difference between development costs and ultimate sale price of a house. Back when I worked on loan to the city I saw numerous examples of developments that cost $300,000 and sold for $100,000. Block grant funds were used to write down the development cost in the hope these properties would stimulate community development. They rarely did, but aldermen thought they would. Where is the accountability for this disaster of a policy. Worse these policies are still continuing today. Written by Paul Dribin

New Market Tax Credits

St. Louis was recently awarded a large new slug of New Market Tax Credits. These credits are intended to enhance development in underserved economic areas. This is good news. Attached is the article:

Microsoft plans to anchor a new office and lab building set to open in mid-2018 in the Cortex technology district.


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The U.S. Treasury Department announced Tuesday that the city of St. Louis’ lead economic development arm would receive a $35 million allocation of federal new markets tax credit authority.

The award is part of $3.5 billion in federal new markets tax credits authority allocated Tuesday to 73 organizations. The credits are designed to spur more investment in low-income and distressed areas by reducing the risk. Local organizations awarded the tax credits authority offer it to investors to attract them to projects in certain areas. Qualified investments are eligible for a 39 percent tax credit.

The St. Louis Development Corp., which aids developers and other economic development in the city, has received nine allocations of new markets tax credits totaling $418 million since 2004. It received $75 million in new market tax credit authority in late 2016, which combined the 2015 and 2016 allocations. In the 2014 round, it received $45 million.

“This is fantastic news for the City of St. Louis,” Otis Williams, SLDC’s executive director, said in a statement Tuesday. “New Markets Tax Credits have been a tremendous tool for us as we seek to redevelop and strengthen the City’s low-income neighborhoods.”

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Otis Williams, executive director of the St. Louis Development Corp., in a portrait on Monday, Sept. 9, 2013, in downtown St. Louis.  St. Louis Development Corp. was awarded $45 million in New Markets Tax Credits. Photo by Erik M. Lunsford elunsford@post-dispatch.com

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Another local entity winning an allocation this year was U.S. Bank’s community development corporate entity, USBCDE, which was awarded a $70 million allocation. The U.S. Bank Community Development Corp. is based in downtown St. Louis. USBCDE invests in projects around the country, not just St. Louis.

Demand should be high for the latest round of credits, said Matt Philpott, who heads the new markets tax credit program at USBCDE.

“I would expect of this new round of award … most of that will get used in 2018,” he said.

The credits have been used to fund multiple developments in St. Louis, including the restoration of the Central Library downtown, the headquarters for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri in Grand Center, the Cortex tech district’s new office building for Microsoft and the ongoing International Shoe building restoration on Washington Avenue.

The credits were in danger of being killed in the original U.S. House version of the federal tax overhaul. But the Senate’s tax cut bill retained the credits for the next two years at existing levels. Philpott said Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., helped keep the credits alive in the tax legislation.

Let’s Get Priorities Right

I am constantly frustrated by the silly priorities of our region and the things we try to put effort into. The City of St. Louis is the murder capital of the country. Indeed some neighborhoods have a murder rate as high as the most dangerous third world countries. We have a huge amount of poverty, poor infrastructure, failing schools, poor public health, and a net loss of population. Our race relations are the joke of the country.

Instead of focusing on these issues we are concerned about Metrolink expansion, soccer stadiums, trolleys, and horse drawn carriages. Our government is hugely fragmented and dysfunctional. It’s no wonder we have problems. Written by Paul Dribin

TIFS in St. Louis

I just read an article posted by Alderman Cara Spencer on facebook regarding the City of St. Louis financial position. The article quoted is entitled Team TIF St. Louis.

The gist of the article is that the city’s financial picture is dire and that TIF’s are the cause. As I have said previously, development subsidies are overdone in St. Louis mostly when used for projects that don’t further economic development. The analysis of TIFs is overly simplistic for the following reasons:

1. It is not really a debt. They are deferred funds that will eventually go to the city which are now going to developments.

2. Without the TIF nothing would have happened. It is not as if there would be a lesser project, there would be no project at all.

3. St. Louis is between a rock and a hard place. It is declining economically, riddled with crime and high taxes, and needs incentives to prime the pump. The real question is whether things will ever take off. Written by Paul Dribin

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