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City Club Missoula Forum – Tax Increment Financing (TIF) – Monday 6/8 – 11:30

June 8 @ 11:30 am - 1:00 pm

Financing (TIF): Pros and Pitfalls

Tax Increment Financing – despite being the subject of much debate in our community – is often not well understood. Depending on the specific project, and whom you ask about it, TIF is an essential mechanism for Missoula to stimulate much-needed economic development in areas where it wouldn’t otherwise occur, or a giveaway to developers that strains city services without providing a corresponding public benefit.


You can learn more about TIF law in Montana here:

Montana Code Annotated 2019




City Club Missoula’s June 8 forum will tackle TIF, first with an explanation from University of Montana law professor Pippa Browde about how the tool is intended to work, followed by presentations from a TIF advocate – Missoula Mayor John Engen – and a TIF critic, local Realtor and former State Representative Adam Hertz.

City Club attendees will have the opportunity to submit questions during a moderated discussion.



Pippa Browde, Professor of Law, Alexander Blewett III School of Law, University of Montana

John Engen, Mayor, City of Missoula

Adam Hertz, real estate developer and Realtor, ERA Lambros Real Estate


Jill Valley, News Anchor, KPAX


June 8
11:30 am - 1:00 pm


City Club Missoula


  1. Russ Fletcher on June 3, 2020 at 2:45 pm

    These are not meant as “gotcha” questions but as probative, open-ended questions that will offer the responder a chance to explain and for there to be follow-up questions.

    The Montana State Urban Renewal Statute defines “blight” which is the threshold for local governments to use TIF for urban renewal programs. The process spelled out in the statute is that the local government—after some study quantifying it—pass a Resolution making a “finding of blight.” Once the finding is made, the local government is obligated to adopt an urban renewal plan to eliminate and prevent the spread of blight. Given the adoption of Urban Renewal plans, how closely are they followed in selecting and funding TIF-funded projects? Are specific portions of the Urban Renewal Plans referred to in the staff reports, MRA Board motions, etc.?

    The MRA has a number of “rules of thumb” or guidelines in evaluating whether to fund a project with TIF. One of these is that a project should not require more than 10% public funds to be funded with TIF. In the past, some projects have required less and in some cases projects have required more than 10%. Can someone explain the process for deciding whether a project deserves more than 10% public financing?

    When the City issues TIF bonds, it automatically extends the life of TIF collection in a district until such time as the bonds are fully paid off. Has the City or MRA ever considered a shorter bond period in order to get the district tax base growth back on the general tax rolls sooner?

    If you want to read up on the State Urban Renewal Law, it can be found at mt.gov under the government section regarding the Montana Codes Annotated. The Statute is found under Title 7-15-Parts 42 &43. More Missoulians ought to read the TIF statute before they talk about it in ignorance. Maybe as the meeting is Zoomed, someone can give that information. That definition of “blight” is quite illustrative about what the Legislature in the 70’s had in mind when they passed the Statute into law.


    Geoff Badenoch

  2. Russ Fletcher on June 3, 2020 at 2:54 pm

    Thanks Geoff. I’ve added the links to the TIF code to the event information

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