ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KMOX) – The tax break bonanza for retail developers in St. Louis County is still booming. Even though county tax commissioners last night rejected a $15 million tax increment financing (or TIF) package for Walmart in Shrewsbury, there’s a good chance the store will be built.
Alderwoman Dee Weichert spoke against the use of a TIF.
“TIFs move retail establishments from one community to another, leaving empty spaces and dilapidated buildings. They benefit the municipality, for awhile, and then they leave the municipality in a poorer position than they were before,” she said.
But resident Karen Diehl cited the decrepit condition of the current Kenrick Plaza strip mall, as well as Shrewsbury’s need for additional revenue.
“Is Walmart any better than the blight that exists there right now? In my opinion, yes it does. Yes it does,” she said. “Walmart has been the only person who has interested in this project for five to seven years.”
The TIF commission rejected the tax incentives by a 9-to-3 vote, but the Shrewsbury Board of Aldermen can, and likely will, override that non-binding decision.
For some, the issue wasn’t about tax increment financing but about the corporation it would benefit.
“If this were any other company besides Walmart, if this were an IKEA, a Target, or something, this room would not be half filled right now because there’s a reason people do not like Walmart,” one resident said.