My friend Frank Kloucek notes that neighbors in Tyndall and Yankton have a chance today to get educated about tax-based incentives. Kloucek sends a press release noting that Iowa State University economist David Swenson will speak today on "The Rationale, Rewards, and Risks of Using Property Tax-Based Tax Incentives in Rural Areas." Swenson presents twice today:
Kloucek says the topic is particularly relevant to the thirty-million-dollar rail facility that Cargill/Agrex Dakota Plains Ag Center is building west of Tabor. That project is getting tax increment financing (Bon Homme County Commissioner John Pesak greeted the project by saying, "We're just going to have to have a TIF"), plus getting the county and state to shoulder the majority of the cost of rebuilding the rail to the Napa junction near Yankton.
Swenson's research has found that TIFs are not clearly associated with economic growth or expanding tax bases, particularly in smaller communities. In his 2012 summary of his Iowa research, Swenson says public subsidization of private development has become "inefficient, imprecise, and inevitable." TIFs, says Swenson, have become an entitlement program for business.
Swenson makes the news elsewhere casting doubt on the job projections and other wishful economic thinking of the Dakota Access Bakken oil pipeline that will cut across East River and Iowa and whose corporate fathers have apparently used the same deceptive "job-year" statistics as Keystone XL backers.
Come ask Swenson your economic development questions this afternoon in Yankton and this evening in Tyndall.