Helen Burns Sharp for ATM


Accountability for Taxpayer Money (ATM) has released a new map of Chattanooga showing in color the location of parcels that are under a PILOT (green) or TIF (red) tax break agreement or are tax exempt because of government ownership (yellow) or charitable reasons (yellow and orange).

Click on the link to the ATM map

Almost 29 percent of the land area in the city appears in one of these tax-favored categories.

We hope the map will remind our elected officials they need to be careful before adding more tax break land through property tax incentives like payment-in-lieu-of- tax (PILOT) and tax increment financing (TIF). The tax burden shifts to homeowners and small businesses when large companies are given special treatment.

ATM has recommended policies and procedures that the city and county could consider to address how they review, monitor and enforce the PILOT program. 

ATM  soon will release results of a study where we examined each PILOT agreement to determine what commitments companies made to get the tax break, what the “clawback” language is if they do not meet their commitments, and what their reporting requirements are. 

The most elusive figures to track are the actual number of new jobs created and the total amount of tax forgiveness per PILOT, data that is necessary to determine the amount of subsidy per job. We  hope the report will nudge officials to enforce agreements if companies have not met their commitments.