The people of Rochester don’t need a B.I.D.

We can make our community stronger, together.

The Rochester Downtown Development Corporation (RDDC) is trying to turn Downtown Rochester into a “Business Improvement District” they would control. A BID would give even more power to some of Rochester’s wealthiest property owners and businesses.

What is a B.I.D.?

A BID is an area of a community where a private company gets to collect an additional tax from businesses and properties every year. That private company spends tax dollars on things like security, maintenance, marketing, and lobbying all in the interest of the biggest property owners, not residents!

HELP STOP THE ROC BID:

join our coalition

Stand with us against the BID, and stand up for community.

HERE’S THE SCOOP:

The RDDC and their aligned interests tried and failed to create a BID in 2014. They’ve spent the last several years influencing programs, policies and politicians to get their way. They’ve taken advantage of trusted community members and their efforts, borrowing their good will. And that’s just wrong.

  • BIDs favor big corporations, burdening small businesses with additional taxes and fees.
  • BIDs try to make areas look a certain way to attract richer customers, pushing out small, unique businesses.
  • BIDs drive gentrification and higher rents, pushing out unique local businesses that create diversity and vitality.
  • Property owners pass BID taxes and fees on to renters who are forced to pay them.
  • BIDs drive gentrification that displaces renters, pushing them out of their homes and neighborhoods.
  • BIDs lobby for policies that favor property owner interests over renters.
  • BIDs prioritize commercial interests making neighborhoods less inclusive and less affordable for their original residents.
  • BIDs erase the unique character and identity of neighborhoods
  • BIDs hire private security to push out vulnerable and marginalized community members.
  • BIDs lobby for laws that criminalize routine activities like sitting and hire private security to push out vulnerable community members.
  • BIDs engage in data collection practices that track the movement and behavior of individuals in public spaces.
  • Pervasive surveillance deters public gatherings and protests, impacting free expression in public space.
  • In a BID voting and voice is based on property ownership and property value. Owners with more property have more say.
  • BIDs favor the interests and give more power to wealthy property owners over the broader community.
  • BIDs impose taxes and policies without sufficient community input or representation.
  • BIDs privatize local government services and are not transparent or accountable to community.
  • BIDs view art as a tool for economic development rather than essential cultural expression.
  • BIDs use their financial clout to shape public opinion in favor of their interests, compromising the artistic community’s independence and integrity.
  • BIDs centralize funding control, stifling critical voices and success of local grassroots initiatives.

“A BID is a concerted effort to further empower the powerful”

Max Rivlin-Nadler “Business Improvement Districts Ruin Neighborhoods” 
The New Republic

Lets create a future that benefits everyone in Rochester, including those who already call it home. Most of the 10,000 people who live downtown don’t own property. Most downtown properties are owned by large developers and big corporations like RG&E. A BID is not for our shared benefit. It will not create prosperity for existing residents and small business owners, it will replace them because BIDs do what’s in the best interest of big business — not community.

The BID policy model is fundamentally flawed because it deliberately ties local control and political voice to property ownership, and not to who lives here.

This structural flaw cannot be changed by City Council, so the BID must be stopped by City Council.

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