Unless someone can prove differently, the GUARDIAN is of the opinion that approval of the Community College ballot measure will mean yet another windfall profit for Boise’s urban renewal agency, CCDC (Capital City Development Corp).
Here’s how it works. Under the tax increment financing scheme that funds the CCDC (and urban renewal agencies around the state), property taxes on improvements and appreciation go to the urban renewal agency– NOT to the schools, cities, and highway districts.
Unless the Community College supporters were able to slip something into the law, it appears to us that a vote for a community college will mean increased revenues for urban renewal agencies in Boise, Meridian, Nampa, Caldwell, etc.
Several years ago Boise passed a “Foothills Levy” which raised $10 million for preservation of the foothills. When the GUARDIAN editor raised this windfall profit issue, the CCDC and the Coles administration quietly cut a back room deal to have the CCDC reimburse the city for revenues it received as a result of the increased levy.
While it was “morally right” to give Boise the foothills portion of CCDC tax revenues, it was illegal to spend funds outside the urban renewal district for non-urban renewal purposes. CCDC was actually purchasing foothills land.
Allowing the CCDC to pick and choose which taxes it wishes to ignore and which ones it wishes to honor (pay) sets a dangerous precedent. These people are not elected and it is not within their legal authority to make such decisions.
A similar situation exists in Coeur d’Alene where the school district is asking voters to approve a bond election. Local opponents of urban renewal funding are forcing the school district to inform voters that urban renewal districts will benefit from passage of the school bond because the urban renewal folks get to KEEP the tax increase that should go to the school bond.
Before we get in any deeper, it is important clean up the urban renewal laws as well as better define the community college proposal.
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