Breaking down the TIF idea

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – There’s been a lot in the news lately about TIF’s.

But it can be a complicated subject.

We break down what you need to know and why we should even care.

Tax increment finance district or better known as TIF.

What does it mean?

We’ll use State Road 46 as an example.

“Not that many years ago, that area we know call the Walmart TIF district or State Road 46 TIF, was basically farmland. And the assessed value on that farmland was, let’s say, a $1,000 an acre,” said Cliff Lambert, director of Terre Haute Redevelopment Commission.

Then the city creates a TIF district or a geographical area.

That means any new improvements on that land pays off.

So now, that $1,000 an acre farmland becomes, let’s say for example, something more like a half million dollars an acre, at least as it relates to tax assessments.

So that difference, the additional revenue, is snatched up and used to fund a number of things needed in the community, creating, what Lambert calls, an economic engine.

“So the new revenues that are generated by new business and industry is captured, and go back to my cornfield analogy, like seed corn, it’s replanted to grow more business and industry in an area that at one point was pretty vacant,” said Lambert.

So what’s this mean for the average Joe?

“We’re generating new revenue, we’re generating new jobs and an economic development engine,” said Lambert.

Officials think TIFs are one of the several economic development tools that could tip the scales in favor of the ordinary citizen.

After you create the infrastructure to support just one new facility, the area could attract more businesses. New businesses bring jobs, spending and tax revenue.

Even going so far to make property tax rates just a little lower for everyone.

Building up an area to keep it on top of its game.

Officials believe over a 20-year build-out of that State Road 46 district, that area has the potential of creating more than 8,000 jobs.

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