The 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. 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 businesses all over the city.

Development beyond the already successful Central Corridor

A recent audit of Tax Increment Financing and Tax Abatement strategies in the City revealed that 52% of TIFs and Tax Abatements went to FOUR(4) central-corridor wards with the highest assessed property values.

As mayor, I will revamp the St. Louis government to increase planning and development for neighborhoods that have not been historically invested in.

To do this, I will:

  • Work with and direct our development agencies to assist with neighborhood planning and create guides for equitable growth for all of our neighborhoods, not just some of them.

  • Connect Neighborhood Development Organizations to important resources within city government and beyond to help them expand their capacity. Support small businesses and startups.

  • Reduce food and bank deserts and improve access to healthy food and affordable financial services.

Large Developments Need to Benefit the Entire Community

St. Louis should not award public subsidies to large developments unless the developers show that their projects will help the community and create new jobs with living wages.

To hold developers accountable for large, publicly subsidized projects, I will:

  • Ensure that new developments come equipped with strong and meaningful Community Benefit Agreements.

  • Require neighborhood investment and input surrounding large projects.

  • Require publicly subsidized projects include onsite SLATE Job Centers.

  • Promote inclusionary, mixed-income housing.

  • Implement models that use a mix of property tax and one-time costs to developers to increase the size of the city’s affordable housing trust fund.

  • Include labor peace agreements.

  • Enforce the housing code, coupled with investment in the Healthy Home Repair program for people unable to afford home improvements.

  • Support/incentivize affordable housing and mixed-use development that fosters small business and community development.

  • Utilize and expand the programs at LRA to incentivize the purchasing of land from the city’s land bank for small business development.

Tax Incentive Reform

The process for awarding tax incentives is arbitrary, subjective and reactive. My goal is to make tax incentive awards more objective, equitable, and effective.

This will require the city to:

  • Create a city-wide plan for use of tax incentives and focus incentive use around this plan.

  • Establish a formal framework for reporting and analyzing the incentives data based on national models.

  • Increase transparency and community understanding around the measures that are used to evaluate applications for public incentives.

  • Require additional reporting from incentive recipients.

  • Develop a formal tax incentive related to creating high skills, high wage and benefits jobs.

  • Be a better partner with developers that recognizes the city as an active investor, not a passive investor.

Public Transit Expansion

Expanding public transit would dramatically improve the quality of life for many St. Louisans and connect people to jobs. We must incentivize development near current and future transit routes. Wherever you live in our city, you should be able to travel to and from work, access our world class amenities, and go to the grocery store. We need to build a public transit system that Saint Louisans deserve. Once we do, our population will grow, new development will come, and all neighborhoods will be able to share in our city’s success.

As mayor, I will work to:

  • Plan and build a North/South Metrolink Line

  • Utilize Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Planning and Implementation.

  • Work to expand our bus routes.

Tenant Bill of Rights

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

As mayor, I will…

  • Work with the Board of Aldermen to codify a strong Tenant Bill of Rights.

  • Help educate renters on their rights.