Columbia activists fight urban blight label

May 30, 2012

A city of Columbia's effort to classify certain neighborhoods as blighted to help businesses secure tax credits continues to draw fire from local activists.

The "blight" label is required by the state Department of Economic Development to create Enhanced Enterprise Zones. The zones are distinct areas where businesses can receive tax breaks in return for adding new facilities or jobs.

Opponents say the label will lower property values and could make it easier for local government to seize property under eminent domain laws.

They are hosting a town hall meeting on the topic at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Daniel Boone Regional Library. Speakers include author Greg LeRoy, a critic of corporate tax breaks.