ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Missouri’s state auditor says many Transportation Development Districts (TDDs) statewide often have little oversight or transparency, amassing nearly $1 billion in outstanding project costs unapproved by taxpayers.
Nicole Galloway joined KMOX’s Charlie Brennan on Monday morning — she says the lax oversight means those controlling the districts can, essentially, do what they want.
Case in point: The St. Louis Convention Center’s TDD formed in 2010.
“It was supposed to charge sales tax for 13 years,” Galloway says. “Four years later, the board – which is controlled by the property owners – changed, so the sales tax will be charged for 40 years.”
Galloway says most districts are created and managed by the owners and developers who stand to gain most from the districts’ tax collections, creating a conflict of interest.
“Insiders have rigged the system to take advantage of Missourians. It is outrageous that taxpayers are on the hook for a billion dollars in debt without even realizing it,” Galloway says in a news release. “It appears as though the General Assembly has legalized self-dealing and conflicts of interest through the Transportation Development District laws. I am calling for a total overhaul of the laws that allow and even encourage this kind of activity.”