Helen Burns Sharp for ATM


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 incentive agreement or are tax-exempt (yellow or orange) because they are owned by a government or by religious, charitable, scientific organizations or by non-profit schools.

Click on this link for the  ATM map of Hamilton County. It was current as of April of 2023.

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 has led 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

April 2023