Tax increment financing worth a try for downtown |

Tax increment financing worth a try for downtown

The Glenwood Springs Downtown Development Authority will ask City Council Thursday to establish a base year for its new tax increment financing.

It’s the baseline in property and sales tax revenues that will be used to calculate the tax gains that will be allocated strictly to the DDA.

Tax increment financing has been used in other Colorado communities for the past 20 years to rejuvenate downtown districts. It’s proven to be a huge benefit in communities like Grand Junction and Fort Collins.

Other taxing entities, such as Garfield County and the Roaring Fork and Colorado Mountain College school districts, fear they will lose future gains in tax revenue if the tax increment financing is enacted.

In theory, this is true. In practice, it’s unlikely.

The improvements funded by DDA tax dollars will boost the inherent value of all downtown properties, yet the DDA’s tax increment will collect only the property tax gains from new construction.

And most other DDAs in Colorado collect the majority of their revenue from property tax, not sales tax.

The old saying, “a rising tide floats all ships,” will hold true with the Glenwood Springs DDA, so long as the group’s ventures are properly envisioned and managed.

All of Glenwood Springs, and other overlapping taxing entities, stand to benefit from a more prosperous and valuable downtown.

The DDA’s tax increment financing is a risk that is well worth taking.

– Heather McGregor, Managing Editor

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