Across the United States, municipal governments use tax abatement in various ways to incentivize development and revitalize urban areas. In Saint Louis, historical housing trends related to deindustrialization, redlining, and “white flight” led to the City’s depopulation, creating the current need to incentivize development. However, in certain neighborhoods, development now occurs without tax abatement, and some homeowners and developers receive tax abatement despite being able to afford paying taxes. This points to a need to understand where and when tax abatement is necessary, and whether it is being used effectively. In this brief, we ask the following questions: (1) Does Saint Louis use this policy differently than other cities, and (2) What is the most effective use of tax abatement when considering equitable development of blighted areas?
Project: Livable Lives Initiative
DeWind, C., Dickey, J., O’Neill, E., & Metzger, M. (2016, June). Tax abatement in Saint Louis: Reforms could foster equitable development (CSD Policy Brief No. 16-21). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.