|From:||Lenny Siegel <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
|Date:||29 Jun 2007 17:00:19 -0000|
|Subject:||Re: [CPEO-BIF] Novel "Brownfields" designation in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan|
I think it's important, for a number of reasons, that public subsidies,
be they tax credits, tax-increment financing, grants, loans, or whatever
be carefully targeted to purposes established by statute. Otherwise,
they may be distributed unfairly. They may serve as political or
personal pay-offs. They may promote undesirable projects. They may
deplete the resources available for projects that "deserve" the support.
I don't have an opinion about the Mt. Pleasant apartment development, but it seems strange that a property would qualify for Brownfields subsidies simply because it is "functionally obsolete." If tax-increment financing in Michigan works like it does in California, the entity deciding to allocate tax revenues to the project is not the only government agency losing revenue in the short term.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but Michigan's lax Brownfields definitions have depleted the state's grant fund for Brownfields. BNA's Environmental Due Diligence Report (January 24, 2007) reported, "A state fund that provides grants for cleaning up contaminated properties and for other environmental projects is just about out of money, according to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Funding under the Clean Michigan Initiative, set up through a $675 million bond issue authorized by voters in 1998, is 'running out at this point,' ..."
Lenny Evans Paull wrote:
I'm going to come to the defense of the liberal definition of a brownfields site in Michigan. I have cited Michigan's Brownfields Redevelopment Authorities (BRA) as a model for State-assisted TIF financing for brownfields http://www.nemw.org/ER%20W07-TIF.pdf . And I continue to believe that other states should emulate this model. There have been a number of Michigan BRA projects that have been called into question because the TIF benefit exceeds the remediation costs, sometimes by many multiples. Scandalous? Not really - we all know that brownfields projects typically have other non-cleanup-cost impediments. When I worked in Baltimore, I did an analysis of the incentives we used to close gaps on brownfields projects and the non-brownfields sources exceeded the brownfields sources (site testing and remediation) by about 5 to 1. The difference is that in Michigan they can use one source (BRA - TIF) to cover a variety of gaps; whereas in Baltimore we had to cobble together a variety of sources. Brownfields projects and greyfields projects get blurred here, but does it really matter? We're still getting smart growth, jobs within existing communities, and retooling "Obsolete properties" (the justification for the brownfields designation, in this instance.) Are Michigan communities giving away too much? There's no way to know without a rigorous but-for analysis. But at least there is nothing automatic about the tax breaks in Michigan's BRA-TIF model. You have to assume that localities are sufficiently motivated to protect local revenues, which is another reason that TIF is a great tool for brownfields - it's inherently conservative, while, at the same time,it's potentially lucrative enough to close pretty big gaps.Evans Paull, Senior Policy Analyst Northeast Midwest Institute 50 F Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 202-464-4004 202-329-4282 (cell) email@example.com http://www.nemw.org/brownfields.htm-----Original Message----- From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of Lenny Siegel Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2007 1:50 PM To: Brownfields Internet Forum Subject: [CPEO-BIF] Novel "Brownfields" designation in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan [Apparently, in Michigan a Brownfield is any site that a developer wants a subsidy for, even if it isn't likely to be contaminated. - Ls] Mission Street apartments to be rebuilt By MARK RANZENBERGER Mt. Pleasant Morning Sun June 28, 2007The old Western Islands apartment complex in Mt. Pleasant will be the latest student apartment complex to be torn down and replaced with fewer, but newer apartments.The complex, in the 1500 block of South Mission Street, is owned by RCS Equities, a company connected to United Investments, the largest studentlandlord in the Mt. Pleasant area. The complex dates back to the 1960s.City commissioners this week, on a 5-2 vote, approved declaring the project a brownfield redevelopment project, allowing the owner to gain atax break for redeveloping the project. The decades-old complex does notappear to be contaminated; instead, it qualified as a brownfield by being declared "functionally obsolete" by the city assessor.... For the entire article, see http://www.themorningsun.com/stories/062807/loc_mission.shtml
-- Lenny Siegel Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight c/o PSC, 278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041 Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545 Fax: 650/961-8918 <firstname.lastname@example.org> http://www.cpeo.org _______________________________________________ Brownfields mailing list Brownfields@list.cpeo.org http://www.cpeo.org/mailman/listinfo/brownfields
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