The Salt Lake City Redevelopment Agency unanimously approved $22.7 million in tax-increment financing kickbacks for the Utah Jazz‘s $120 million in arena renovations yesterday, because renovations iz gud:
“The improvements they will be making … will be significant and will really add value to the venue and to the neighborhood,” said RDA Vice Chairman Derek Kitchen, one of six board members who voted for the tax break.
As discussed yesterday, there is really no reason for Salt Lake City to be cutting the Jazz a tax break, given that the team owns its arena and isn’t really a danger to go anywhere (or cancel the renovations) if it didn’t get the money. At the same time, it’s only 40% of future increases in property taxes, from both the arena and the rest of the TIF district, and if property tax receipts don’t rise, the city is off the hook for it, and it’s only $23 million on a $120 million project, and $23 million is practically nothing these days, right?
We’re ultimately down to asking whether throwing a relatively small (but still large in normal human terms) amount of money down a hole for no good reason is something to complain about, or something to be glad isn’t so much worse. And the obvious answer is “yes.”