ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) – The St. Louis Board of Aldermen must now consider a proposed $8.1 million tax break for Laclede Gas to move to a different building downtown. The idea has the blessing of the city’s Tax Increment Financing Commission, but it is drawing fire from a free market think tank.

The deal doesn’t see fair to taxpayers according to the Show Me-Institute, which has a long history of opposing tax breaks for corporations. Policy Analyst David Stokes says why should a utility like Laclede, which earned $62 million in profits last year, need more help from the public?

Stokes told KMOX it may make sense when you look at it on a case by case bases, but “you’re just continuing to dig a bigger hole for the city.”

Adding, TIFs were intended for special cases, “while now they’re just standard operating procedure.”

Laclede Gas claims the money is not for them but for the developer, the Komen Group to fix up the old GenAmerican building and get it ready for Laclede.

“We’re not really benefiting from the TIF other than the fact the project moves forward. If not for the TIF, I’m not sure the project can go forward,” Laclede Vice President Ellen Theroff said.

The renovation is slated to cost $46.4 million.


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