I am the first one to criticize Indianapolis City-Council Democrats when they drop the ball, so in fairness allow me to be the first one to offer them praise when they get it right.
The Council’s Indianapolis Metropolitan and Economic Development Committee voted 5-1 Monday night to move forward with two stalled Tax Increment Finance projects. The committee voted to amend the original TIF proposal to include funds for small business loans, worker retraining and citywide redevelopment. This happened at the end of the meeting.
Although Committee Chairman Steve Talley had said the meeting was adjourned, there was no second and no vote, so there is no question about the legality of the proposal.
The proposal expands the downtown TIF district to include the Mass Ave area as well as 16 Tech. A TIF District uses property taxes to fund redevelopment by capturing increases in property tax dollars to pay for redevelopment. The city has argued the TIFs are needed to create jobs and bring economic development to the city. Opponents say the TIF take badly needed property tax revenue from schools and local governments.
I have to give credit to Vop Osili, Zach Adamson, Mary Moriarty Adams and even Joe Simpson, who was not on the committee, but expressed his support for it and worked to reach a compromise, even though he said in the past he would never vote for a TIF District. By using funds from the TIF for small business loans as well as as workforce training and redevelopment it shows not only creative thinking, but also getting even more bang for the buck.
As I have written before, Indianapolis needs more taxpayers, not taxes, per se as the answer to its long-term financial needs. Going down this road to help small businesses and get people back on their feet and in workforce is the smart thing to do. They deserve a major thumbs up for this one. Hopefully, they can keep this momentum moving.