Urban renewal makes an easy target for those of us who don't like taxes. Yes, that's just about all of us. But should it? Are we being fair, are we being prudent, when we clamor for elimination of the laws that permit the use of tax-increment financing - an unwieldy term that assures much misunderstanding right out of the gate - to spur economic development in the short term for benefit in the long one? Rep. Kathy Sims of Coeur d'Alene recently recommended changes to the way urban renewal agencies function, but Rep. Robert Schaefer, a Nampa Republican, introduced legislation last week that would repeal Idaho's urban renewal laws altogether and require debts incurred by urban renewal agencies to be retired. Schaefer's goal - to funnel more money toward schools, fire departments and highway agencies - seems laudable on the surface. But we think it bears deeper examination/Mike Patrick, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Legislature photo: Kathy Sims, outspoken opponent of urban renewal)
Question: Do you understand the long-term benefits of tax-increment financing and urban renewal law?