Listening to a developer talk about Tax Increment Financing and Tax Increment Development Districts is like listening to a teenager tell you what you want to hear about how responsible he'll be with your car as he's asking for the keys. Smart kid.
Just like this is smart growth.
Here's the SunCal company line:
Local governments have found that traditional development, outside of TIDDs, sometimes does not pay its own way. The easiest and most profitable development is simply housing sprawl. But new residences alone impose burdens on existing infrastructure and public services. They rely on the existing local economy for jobs to support the new residents and existing roads to take them to work. The taxes paid on residences are insufficient to pay for public services.
This contains great truths. Sprawl is profitable and easy and taxes are insufficient to pay for public services. Then this statement - repeating planning as if saying it 3 times makes the TIDD wish come true:
TIDDs are a tool that governments can use to avoid these problems. They provide a method for developers and local governments to agree on a development plan addressing economic growth, infrastructure, amenities and other factors in a new development. A developer performing according to the plan can be reimbursed for some of the infrastructure costs the company previously advanced. Planned, controlled and orderly development in the TIDD permits the simultaneous development of housing and jobs. It permits residents to live near their work, and minimizes their use of pre-existing infrastructure and their reliance for employment on the pre-existing economy.
Couple things – first, I didn’t hear any heels-clicking or see red shoes. No Go. Second, if the plan doesn't address anything outside each district, it isn't very planned, controlled and orderly. Especially with the potential for an unlimited number of districts. Lastly, minimizing use of pre-existing development (i.e. the existing community) is neither desirable nor possible. If preexisting things, like homes and streets and schools aren’t aren't relied on, rebuilt and reinvested in on a continual basis, they will die. Neighborhoods are not protected by using incentives to direct new growth and investment away from them to the edge. On the contrary - it’s infill or downhill.
The developer spokesperson continues:
The TIDD process makes the developer responsible for economic development and job recruitment sufficient to satisfy the requirements of the residential community being constructed. The developer must provide commercial and industrial space for employers and the infrastructure to serve it.
So this will only work if the TIDD developer is successful at recruiting new businesses that all the City, County, State and private economic development agencies have been unable to recruit thus far. And the entire idea hinges on the assumption that they just need new industrial space. Build it and they will come. Young brave captains of industry will swoop into town with investment capital to build flying cars and rockets just because SunCal asks.
Color me dark skeptical.