The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

December 6, 2012

Your View: Resolve problems

By Jan C. Tupper
Special to The Globe

JOPLIN, Mo. — My service to the city of Joplin began in 1972 and includes council member, a member of the Building Board of Appeals, Planning and Zoning Commission, Planned Industrial Expansion Authority, Enterprise Zone Tax Abatement Study Committee, City Manager Screening Committee (2), Home Rule Charter Review Committee, Land Clearance Redevelopment, Board of Adjustment and an earlier Tax Increment Financing Commission. I also served as a member of the Joplin School District Board of Education multiple years.

This background has prompted this statement. I believe the previous TIF programs have proved their value to the city and the tax-sharing entities. The current proposal is very different, in my opinion.  First, the size of the zone is much larger both in acres and in scope.  Including the downtown area is not justifiable under the TIF rules, in my opinion. Much of the area in the program and other areas will be developed as housing units, which means more student enrollment during the TIF period with no increase in revenue to the school district. Making up this loss will fall on the taxpayers in the district.

The recent effort to push for approval before the problems are resolved seems to be the wrong approach. The gains, if true, do not justify the potential problems for the school district and their patrons. Unlike our leadership in Washington, we need to completely evaluate the potential gains and problems before we rush approval. At this point we have not done that.

Jan C. Tupper