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Only time will tell whether TIF vote right for McCook
Let's hope current presidential candidates and other political figures take the lead from participants in Monday night's discussion of the controversial Holiday Inn Express TIF project before the McCook City Council.
City officials admitted to losing some sleep over the decision of whether to grant $1.4 million in tax increment financing assistance to the $8.8 million, four-story project, but it sets a good precedent.
"We'll know in 10 years whether we made the right decision," McCook Mayor Mike Gonzales observed.
There was good reason to lose sleep. Owners of other local hotels make a valid point about the possible oversupply of rooms and the fact McCook might even lose rooms or entire businesses as a result. A study used to justify the project was flawed, opponents said, and other objections were raised as well.
Kudos to those opponents, who presented legitimate objections in a civil manner.
However, tax increment financing is a tool available to anyone, including existing businesses, who meets basic requirements, and if McCook becomes a difficult place for businesses to grow, they will be tempted to go somewhere else.
There's no guarantee the new hotel will be a success, or that it won't hurt existing lodging businesses.
But local government is at its best when it encourages business growth while still allowing natural market forces to run their course.