"Diversion thesis" muddies anti-TIF arguments, writer says

An article from the transparency wizards at the Citizen Advocacy Center unpacks a familiar complaint against tax-increment financing (TIF).

A piece written by the Center's Jacob Butcher describes a "diversion thesis" that's common canon among TIF critics: "TIF diverts money from public schools and other government services to line the pocketbooks of developers."

Never mind whether Butcher has ever even seen a pocketbook. He does see that TIF opponents get slammed by TIF boosters for what the latter call a BS claim: TIF districts rob tax money from schools, etc., and funnel it to private interests.

"The diversion thesis has a kernel of truth to it," Butcher writes. "But it mistakes the kernel of truth for the whole truth and misdiagnoses the primary mechanism by which TIF’s regressive redistribution is effectuated."

As we've reported before, it's easy to oversimplify rips on TIFs. Butcher's piece tells how not to.

Article: "Tax Increment Financing: Property Tax Diversion or Property Tax Surcharge?" (Citizen Advocacy Center)