Matt Assad of The Morning Call in Allentown, Pa., found more towns using Tax Incremental Financing to lure companies as the state decreases economic development funding. Because TIF projects exist in most states, this could be a trend elsewhere.
“If there isn’t state money to get, we will see it more often,” Matt says.
Matt’s story helps readers understand what it means. For instance, his story quotes one source saying: “When you get a grant, it’s the government taking from taxpayer money. The TIF only uses incremental tax money created by the project. It truly is generated by the project, for the project, as opposed to generated by some guy down the street.”
Matt says he’s written about TIF projects before so he understands how they work. He suggests reporters who haven’t covered TIF projects ask lots of questions. I also found this online reference guide that could be useful.
Municipalities have to approve the projects, but Matt warns some smaller towns may not have many details. He says reporters can gather information through regional economic development corporations and planning commissions because they’re often the companies’ first contact.