February 24, 2005
Members of the Tempe City Council will state publicly tonight where they stand on the use of sales tax incentives to lure economic developments.
The council will be updated and offer direction on the efforts by Tempe, Chandler and Phoenix to finalize a deal that seeks to curb the practice, officials said.
In the past, East Valley municipalities have discussed the possibility of sales-tax sharing and the creation of incentive-free zones along city borders.
Ken Jones, an auditor for the city charged with handling the negotiations, would not comment on details of the proposal until the plans are made public.
He said the three cities are working well together and meet at least twice a week.
The council will discuss the issue at 6 p.m. at the Harry E. Mitchell Government Center Municipal Building, 31 E. Fifth St.
Community leaders have become increasingly concerned that developers are pitting cash-starved communities against each other in an effort to attract sales taxgenerating projects.
"For a long time I’ve viewed sales tax abatements as a potentially selfdestructive tool that can be appropriately used to finance infrastructure, restore historical properties and clean up environmentally challenged properties," said Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman.
But concerns do not stop at the local level.
Recently Sen. Jay Tibshraeny, R-Chandler, introduced the first of a series of bills by several state lawmakers seeking to curb bidding wars between cities.
His bill would halt the practice of some municipalities to avoid potential public votes on sales tax incentives by declaring a project an "emergency."