Studies & Articles on Common Abuses of TIRZs (AKA TIFS)


Will Jason, “Why Tax Increment Financing Often Fails and How Communities Can Do Better (Land Lines, September 11, 2018) A brief article on TIFs (or TIRZs) and their pitfalls. (“TIF often captures some revenues that would have been generated through normal appreciation in property values, even without the TIF-funded investment. This over-capture of revenue diverts resources away from public services citywide.”)

Benjamin Schneider, “City Lab University: Tax Increment Financing” (Bloomberg October 24, 2019). A brief primer on TIFs and their abuse. (“The but for’ problem looms over nearly every TIF program that is intended to spur economic development…The existence of TIF might create a self-fulfilling cycle, where developers will only invest in certain places if they can access TIF subsidies.”

David Merimann, “Improving Tax Increment Financing for Economic Development” (Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 2018).  An in-depth study by the leading expert of TIFs and how they are abused (see pp. 15-16) (“TIFs can make governments’ financial situations and transactions less transparent and allow evasion of political constraints on using public funds for private purposes.”)

Anthony Flint, “The Hidden Cost of TIF: Reconsidering a Vaunted Economic Development Tool” (Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, October 2018). An overview of TIFs and their use and abuse across the country (“We’re asking to take incremental revenues that otherwise would go into the general fund. Any time you do that, it’s a public process.”).