A Boston Globe story on that city’s bid to host the 2024 Olympics quotes Rachel Weber, GCI fellow and associate professor of urban planning and policy, on the risks to taxpayers if tax increment financing is used to fund infrastructure improvements.
The risk to taxpayers depends on how the deals are structured, said Rachel Weber, an associate professor of urban planning at the University of Illinois Chicago. Across the country, she said, there have been very few instances of default.
“If the project is generally successful and the property values in the area increase at the rate that was projected, these are not innately risky,” Weber said. But if the project falters or a recession hits, most municipal borrowing arrangements require the city or state to step in and pay down the debt, by shifting money from other parts of its budget or by raising taxes, Weber said.