The Sound of One Hand Washing the Other

The city of St. Louis is offering tax incentives to keep a heavy-hitting, politically connected law firm downtown: City offers incentives to keep Bryan Cave downtown:

The city of St. Louis is offering one of the area’s oldest and most prestigious law firms up to $25 million in tax breaks to stay downtown.

While the city frequently uses tax incentives to lure or retain businesses, the benefits extended to Bryan Cave exceed “to a significant degree” those that have been offered to other businesses in the past, according to a confidential letter obtained by the Post-Dispatch.

The city is hoping to lure the firm into a new building. In return, the city would give partial tax abatement for up to 25 years, cut in half the taxes due on equipment such as computers and furniture and provide breaks on payroll and earnings taxes.

Additionally, the city is considering using a consultant paid for by Bryan Cave instead of city workers to do the building inspections for the new property. Such a step has never been taken before in St. Louis.

Not that I am trying to tell St. Louis how to handle its business, but perhaps downtown would have more businesses coming to it if it abated that 1% payroll tax and spent its tax revenue on infrastructure instead of sports venues.

But I work in the real world and don’t have an advanced poli-sci or urban planning degree, so what do I know?