Chesterfield developer Paul McKee appeared on a radio show this morning promoting his 1,500-acre development plan which includes areas of downtown and the near north side of St. Louis City. During the show, host Demetrius Johnson, a McKee supporter, attacked Alderman Antonio French because of a quote that appeared in today’s Post-Dispatch.
McKee is asking for the largest TIF in the history of the City of St. Louis for his project. But that in itself is not the most alarming thing about McKee’s request. McKee is pushing for city taxpayers to guarantee — effectively co-sign — his risky bank loans. To the tune of $200 million dollars.
From the Post-Dispatch:
They’ve only backed three other TIFs in recent years, and wound up on the hook each time. And with a tight budget and pension obligations looming, there isn’t much room to pay down bonds if new tax revenue from NorthSide can’t.
Even if Mayor Francis Slay’s office agrees, it’s not clear that there are enough votes on the Board of Aldermen.
“I’m not more of a financial expert than the banks that are looking at this,” said Alderman Antonio French. “If they’re still passing on it, who are we to say it’s a good deal?”
Listen as McKee’s pitbulls attack French for pointing out the risk to city taxpayers.
In these times when civility in public debate seems to be eroding by the hour, and the investment of every tax dollar should be thoroughly examined, make a donation today to show your support for Alderman French.