Michael T. White represented the City of St. Peters in Great Rivers Habitat Alliance v. the City of St. Peters Missouri in which the Missouri Supreme Court put an end to seven and a half years of litigation over tax increment financing (TIF). By denying transfer on December 18, 2012, the Supreme Court refused to disturb the Missouri Court of Appeals’ earlier opinion which rejected legal challenges to the City of St. Peter’s approval of a tax increment financing plan which was adopted in order to build a flood protection levee. In this case, the Adolphus Bush trust, the Alliance, St. Charles County, and others claimed the land in the TIF plan was not “blighted,” even though the land was subject to frequent flooding and other deterioration. In rejecting these challenges, the Court of Appeals held that “in an area where property values had deteriorated and declined, the Constitution permits municipalities to encourage growth and development through tax relief and to activities that will arrest the decline in property value and stimulate its increase.”
TIF is now the most commonly used form of economic incentive for development, and this case reinforces the importance of having a thoroughly prepared TIF Plan or Economic Development Incentive Plan which satisfies the myriad of statutory requirements. White Goss has prepared TIF plans on behalf of both municipalities and private developer clients in both Missouri and Kansas.