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Abstract

Bonds backed by payments in lieu of taxes ("PILOTs") are a unique and little used mode of financing. They are a rare structure in the municipal debt markets. PILOT financing has a close analog: tax increment financing ("TIF"). TIF is a popular local redevelopment financing mechanism. Since its inception in California in 1952, all fifty states have implemented legislation authorizing the use of TIF. This Comment discusses TIF and its legal and financial drawbacks, and then applies the lessons learned from TIF to PILOT financing. Part I describes TIF's general structure and underlying rationale and then examines New York State's TIF statute. Part II considers the legal challenges that have been raised against TIF and predicts risks and policy consideration surrounding the use of TIF. It also considers whether TIF really is a self-financing redevelopment mechanism, as its proponents argue. Finally, Part IV examines the limited use of TIF in New York and proposes an explanation for its scarcity. It also outlines the similarities between TIF and PILOT financing, and explains how the legal issues, risks, and policy considerations surrounding the use of TIF apply with equal force to PILOTs.

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