Tax Increment Finance Districts (TIFS) redirect general community sales and property taxes to projects directed by a TIF, including infrastructure and private investment. After the date of a TIF's creation, increases in local taxes cease to flow to the community as a whole and are directed to the TIF. Businesses within a TIF gain an advantage over businesses outside the TIF. Sold as no-cost economic development, there is no evidence TIFs increase overall economic activity in a state. Instead, TIFs scavenge jobs from other communities and other areas within a community.
"Tax Increment Finance and Suggestions for Reform" by Byron Schlomach is a critical look at TIFs in Oklahoma. It points out that TIFs burden businesses not located in TIFs. All taxpayers statewide are burdened when TIFs access school property taxes. Recommendations for reform include greater transparency, stricter limits on use of TIF funds, and greater state oversight. Click for a Summary.