Sustainable and Equitable Development

“St. Louis will never be the city it can be if half of it is left to fend for itself.”

dsc_0289The strength of St. Louis is in its people and unique neighborhoods. Unfortunately, many of the city’s development decisions do not reflect this fact. Since 2000, St. Louis has spent over $700 million in tax incentives with little evidence that such benefits are effective. As mayor, I will push development North and South, where it is needed most, and not solely focus on the Central Corridor. Development incentives and tax breaks take away money from city schools, make it harder to provide basic city services like policing and trash pick-up, and are often awarded for projects in areas that need them the least. This practice must stop. As mayor, I will reform tax incentives and change the culture of development to help neighborhoods and small business all over the city.

Development beyond the already successful Central Corridor

Approximately 85% of development incentives are provided to projects in the Central Corridor. There is little to no reason why the city should incentivize the building of homes that will sell for more than $500,000, even when the developer is a candidate’s donor. I will revamp St. Louis government to increase planning and development for neighborhoods without anchor institutions. To do this, I will:

  1. Assist with neighborhood planning to create documents like the North Central Plan and then help move them into fruition
  2. Connect Neighborhood Development organizations to important resources and aligning public resources to help them with capacity
  3. Support small businesses and startups
  4. Reduce food deserts  and improve access to healthy food

Large Developments Need to Benefit the Entire Community

St. Louis should not award public subsidies to large developments unless they show their projects will help the community by creating new jobs with living wages. To hold developers accountable for large publicly subsidized project, I will:

  1. Develop Community Benefits Agreements
  2. Require neighborhood investment surrounding large projects
  3. Require publically subsidized projects include onsite SLATE Job Centers
  4. Promote inclusionary housing
  5. Implement models like Denver’s that uses a mix of property tax and one-time costs to developers to increase the size of the city’s affordable housing trust fund
  6. Include labor peace agreements
  7. Enforce the housing code, coupled with investment in the Healthy Home Repair program for people unable to pay to make improvements

Tax Incentive Reform

The process for awarding tax incentives is far too arbitrary. As mayor, my goal will be to make tax incentive awards more rational, equitable, and effective. This will require the city to:

  1. Create a city wide plan for use of tax incentives and focus incentive use around this plan
  2. Implement 2016 Economic study recommendations and the East – West Gateway recommendations
  3. Establish a formal framework for reporting and analyzing the incentives data
  4. Build greater quantitative measures into the application scoring process for incentives
  5. Require additional reporting from incentive recipients
  6. Develop a formal tax incentive related to creating high skills/high wage and benefits jobs
  7. Utilize and enforce clawback provisions

Public Transit Expansion

Expanding public transit dramatically improves the quality of life for many St. Louisans. We must incentivize development near current and future transit routes. As mayor, I will work to:

  1. Plan and build a North/South Metrolink Line
  2. Utilize Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Planning and Implementation

Tenant Bill of Rights

Half of the city’s residential units are rentals. Their tenants are poor, rich, young, and old. Some do not speak English. Tenants must have protections from illegal lockouts and against slum landlords who collect rent but fail to provide safe living conditions for renters. They need a bill of rights. I have been a vocal supporter of St. Louis’ 160,000 renters. As mayor, I will develop mechanisms to allow for the reporting of violations without retribution.

Recommended Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search