Helen Burns Sharp for ATM
Accountability for Taxpayer Money (ATM) has prepared a map of Chattanooga showing 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 this link for the ATM map of Hamilton County. It was current as of October 2018. An updated version would reflect the addition of the East Chattanooga TIF, the addition of city/county housing PILOTs for APP Battery Partners, CNE Union, and the Reserve at Mountain Pass, and the addition of a County jobs PILOT for Southern Champion Tray. A new map would reflect the deletion of PILOTs that have expired over the past few years. That list includes jobs PILOTs for Westinghouse, Jarnagin Rd./EMJ, Van de Wiele, Chattem, and AKI and housing PILOTs for
Bread Factory, Frazier Properties, South Market LLC, and MK LLC.
ATM also has a larger scale map of the "Ridge to River" area, where many of the tax-favored parcels are concentrated and more may be under consideration.
Note how much land in the city appears in color in a tax-favored category. 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. This uncollected property tax revenue--over $26 million in the tax year 2021--is not available for city and county services. Hamilton County leads the state in the amount of property tax revenue forgiven through PILOTs.
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 has 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.
Accountability for Taxpayer Money-Chattanooga
~Helen Burns Sharp
Helen Burns Sharp for ATM
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