As a municipal lawyer, I see an additional reason why the original “but for” test doesn’t work [Aug. 1 Kennedy column]. Every proposed development that approaches a municipality expects a TIF district and tax abatements. They point out that every other municipality they approach is willing to give this to them. If you refuse, they go elsewhere.
Thus you really have a new “but for” test. Since everyone grants them, “but for” your approval you won’t get the project.
In the modern world with modern communications, transportation and the like, almost no business is forced to locate within your municipal boundaries. The grocery and hardware store no longer needs a spot on Main Street, downtown or the town square. The commercial development at the interstate intersection or along the widened state road outside of town will do just fine.