Stiffed by TIF

City schools are being asked to give back tax dollars to developers

For this time at least, local captains of industry -- including media darling Richard Baron -- could look to Cardinals ownership for ethical direction. Cardinals president Mark Lamping got the school-board president's support for the new ballpark by committing to cutting a check each year to the city's public schools in lieu of taxes, using 2000 tax rates as a basis. "We've always carved out the deseg tax. That's totally separate," says Lamping, who says the Cardinals also don't seek tax relief from the 1 percent of state sales tax that goes to education. "We were never looking to get a percentage of that back."

That's not only good spin-meistering, it's tax breaks the way they oughtta be.

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