City Government

Legislature Could Rein In CCDC

Thanks to some fed up folks up north, we may have a shot at reforming the CCDC and all the subsidy to developers at the expense of us common folk.

There is a pair bills in the legislature up for hearing Friday that could force ELECTION of urban renewal boards. These guys take our tax dollars without our permission and spend without any elected authority at present.

Background: Current Idaho law allows Urban Renewal Districts to be created in so-called blighted areas.  Boise City has three Urban Renewal Districts, in the downtown vicinity.

These Urban Renewal Districts use Tax Increment Financing which means  property taxes paid on any improvements or appreciated value within such districts goes to the Urban Renewal Agency, rather than to the city, county, highway district, etc.  Boise gets NOTHING from all the taxes on BoDo, Grove Hotel, the banks–most everything in downtown. Those taxes all go to CCDC which claims to be private at times and public at other times. There has been little or no oversight of their actions.
In downtown Boise, for example, this means Capital City Development Corporation gives developers special deals on valuable downtown real estate.  CCDC also builds parking structures, provides streetscaping which businesses like Vista Village pay for themselves.  CCDC was also a key player in the ill-conceived Ada County Courthouse project financing deal.    
The effect of Tax Increment Financing is the rest of us property taxpayers are subsidizing the small number of developers who receive the benefits of the Tax Increment Financing.    A select few benefit at the expense of the many. 

Check out the proposed bills
HERE and

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. I like the idea of more controls being put on a CCDC that uses urban renewal to enrich itself and it’s unelected members.

    I read both bills which seem to ask for the voters to chose CCDC commissioners and enumerate URD’S powers. Here’s my problem; many of our elected politicians constantly show a disdain for the people by misusing the taxpayers monies. Wouldn’t it be better to vote on the financing used for CCDC’s projects? This would limit their ability to disregard the will of the voters while giving more control of the monies they use to the people.

    A precedent has already been set for this by the recent Id. supreme court decision that improvements funded by Boise City bond issues must be voted on by the people. Do you, like me, tire of the mindless rhetoric,multiple shadow agencies,and idiotic spin by CCDC lookalikes used to scam the taxpayer?

  2. Inside City Hall
    Feb 1, 2007, 9:42 pm

    The CCDC is and always has been the playtoy of the city council and those that think they control the downtown area. At one time it was a group of local well-healed families and now it is those on the city council that know more than normal humans.

    The very simple fact has been stated – CCDC collects taxes that benefit a special few with little or no public oversight or input.

  3. Would you happen to know some specifics on the 3 URDs in Boise? Their names and what they cover (more or less)?

    EDITOR NOTE–You can check for yourself at the CCDC site.

    They expanded the original downtown area, created a River Street District and recently creted another new WEST downtown area. Bottom line is most of downtown tax revenue goes to CCDC, but WE pay for all the high demand services.

  4. Breaking news at “Legislature tables urban renewal bills”. Sorry guys…but look at the bright side. You will have something more to whine about for a whole additional year.

  5. Your article is just as bad as the people you rail against. It has half truths and flat mistakes….I don’t say lies because I don’t know if you are just uniformed. However, the point is, but for the new developments increased value and sometimes sales tax generation there would be no additioanl taxes. That is to say, if the bare ground without improvements brings in $1000 in taxes when it just sits there and a property will not be improved because there is no user that can afford to build an improvement that will generate more tax revenue. Therefore, tax increment financing came into existance to generate growth that would generate more taxes than the bare ground just sitting there. This extra tax revenue would be used to payback the capital outlayed upfront to make the project happen.

    Now, I freely admit that this is a theory that in most instances works, but in the specifics of your statements that NOTHING of the taxes goes to the jurisdiction I don’t know. However, I would guess that your statement is not totally correct.

    I can’t say that the CCDC board members are working against the best interest of the public and that they are somehow actually skimming money into there own pockets. But I can say that I don’t always agree with their vision.

    You somehow think that by simply electing this board they will be better qualified. Not sure I agree with the premise that an elected official, simply because they are elected are better at any job than an appointed official.

    Anyway, do appriciate your bringing this issue to our attention.

    EDITOR NOTE–We have NEVER alleged any “skimming” or illegal activity by CCDC. We just think the system is wrong. Since they are paid taxes that would otherwise go to city/county/ACHD we feel ELECTED officials should be held accountable. The law provides for the CITY COUNCIL to act as their own board which is fine. Police, fire, parks etc. do not have authority to get DIRECT TAX MONEY and CCDC shouldn’t either.

  6. Jon – Why the negativity (the “whine” remark) about people who speak out for positive changes in the way our government operates? If a lot more people would do so, some of the good ideas might actually be implemented.

  7. Sharon, I guess that you would be assuming that I believe the things you speak of are “good ideas” and “positive changes”. I fully support your right to speak out and push for change. That is what this country is all about, and I do respect your willingness to be a face for that change.

    However, as informative as this site is, often the battle cries are becoming monotonous and predictable. The blanket application of “taxes are bad” and “non-elected officials shouldn’t have any oversight of the spending of tax revenues” is something I simply disagree with. So far as I can see, the benefits derived from districts like the CCDC and others far outweighs the risks and problems associated with them.


    EDITOR NOTE–Jon, a point of clarification. GUARDIAN is not opposed to taxes, bonds, improvements, progress, etc. We just want the citizens to vote on ANY long term debt as provided in the Idaho Constitution. That’s it. If city council takes over CCDC we have elected officials spending tax money. If CCDC operates WITHOUT direct taxes and spending authority (as part of city budget) we see no problem. This issue is one of simple democracy–not conservative, liberal, progressive or religious.

  8. Dave, a point of clarification of my own: In using the word “site” I was specifically referring to the discussions that usually take place here, and that are based upon your initial postings. While I often don’t agree with you, I would assert that some of the posters take it to another level of rhetoric, and that is what I was specifically thinking of when referring to “blanket application:.

    I do have to say though, that oversimplifying this to a democracy discussion isn’t the most straightforward approach. After all, Constitutional literalism is an ideology too.

    THANKS, drf

  9. Jon – Thank you for your clarification. You wrote:

    Sharon, I guess that you would be assuming that I believe the things you speak of are “good ideas” and “positive changes”.

    Not at all. I just don’t believe there are too many people on here who are advocating for what they believe are NEGATIVE changes! We all might disagree about what changes should be made, but isn’t that the point of having the discussion? I said, “some of the good ideas might actually be implemented.” I didn’t say all of the ideas are good.

    If we can have the discussion on here, in a civil manner, then hopefully the best ideas with the most support can rise to the top and be implemented. The beauty of it all is that you can choose which responses to read, or not. If you really don’t enjoy being here at all, you can simply turn it off.

    I am grateful we have Dave providing this opportunity for interested citizens to have an amazing ongoing public policy discussion, and I think you are as well, or you wouldn’t be on here anymore! 😉

  10. Okay, all of you. Give me all of your money and I will spend it like I want to. Maybe I will give you a little back if you are nice to me.

  11. curious george
    Feb 10, 2007, 10:29 am

    Maybe I’m missing something…

    Since CCDC’s Board is appointed by the elected members of the city council (and, currently, two of those board members are on the city council), and any renewal plan (with public money spending obligations) has to be approved by the city council (in a public hearing), how has the tax-paying public been removed from the process?

    I know it’s popular to spin conspiracy theories, but I don’t even catch a wiff of a smokey back room.

    Perhaps folks are a little uncomfortable with the idea of a democratic republic. Or perhaps folks are uncomfortable with the notion that local government ruling bodies have no true separation of powers (they are administrative, legislative, and judicial), and as such carry the authority to obligate future debt. And, all this without a “special” election, since they were elected into office to make such decisions.

    If that’s the case, folks could lobby to change state statutes (and perhaps the state’s constitution), to limit an urban renewal agency’s debt obligation to the specific length of a city council’s majority term. The length of this term of debt wouldn’t span longer than 6-8 years (depending on the size of the council and the time at which the debt was obligated). This period should be enough to retire the debt incurred by many smaller capital projects (sidewalk improvements, street furniture purchases, street tree plantings), but larger debt obligations would have to revert to a special election. But, this would probably greatly slow down urban renewal efforts and relegate CCDC to not much more than a downtown improvement district.

    New businesses would then probably opt to locate their offices where land is cheaper (out at the urban fringe), where they can get “free” parking for their customers, and their employees wouldn’t have to deal with (near-term) road congestion. The end result, for the tax-payer, would be the need to spend massive amounts of funds to create and maintain far-flung public infrastructure systems.

    Just a thought…

    EDITOR NOTE–George, you sugget lobbying for change. Pretty hard to do when you have to pay (through taxes) for the CCDC and City to lobby against you!

    Long term debt is the only real issue at hand. I have NEVER seen the council vote on CCDC long term debt. In fact, the code–which I believe to be in violation of the state constitutional prohibition against long term debt–specifically authorizes this NON ELECTED board to sell bonds for long term debt. You ever want to meet or talk and I will bet you a year’s wages you will agree with me in the end. There is little or no oversight on how TAXES are spent.

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