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Wednesday, May 5, 2021

On Thursday morning, the House Ways and Means Committee will take up S.33, the bill that would establish a Project-Based Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Pilot Program and make it available to smaller communities. This program would be one of the only tools available for local governments to invest in infrastructure improvements that spur economic recovery and growth. Money from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) is not a replacement for an innovative financing tool, nor is it enough to undertake a significant infrastructure project that changes the possibilities for development in our town centers.

The House Commerce and Economic Development Committee removed the pilot program from S.33. The bill is now in House Ways and Means without that section.

The program would authorize the Vermont Economic Progress Council to approve up to ten project-based TIF districts between January 1, 2022, and December 31, 2026. Local officials could use the TIF to incur debt up to $5 million to invest in a public infrastructure improvement. That improvement would generate new development or redevelopment and, as a result, new property taxes. The town would be enabled to use not less than 85 percent of municipal property taxes that are newly generated as a result of the infrastructure investment, and up to 70 percent of newly generated education property taxes (the increments) to repay debt that is incurred to finance construction of one qualifying infrastructure project, such as wastewater, stormwater, brownfield remediation, transportation enhancements, streetscapes, and utilities.

Urge your representatives (find their email addresses here) to reinstate the Project-Based TIF Pilot Program in S.33. Tell them to contact their colleagues who are members of the Ways and Means Committee and to support the Project-Based TIF Pilot Program.