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Midway Airport Lease Resurgence

Is the deal to lease Midway Airport to a private company coming back? It’s pure speculation at this point, but Greg Hinz, blogger-in-the-know over at Crain’s Chicago Business, seems to think so in his latest post, “Emanuel calls summit meeting with top airline execs.” On Monday, Mayor Emanuel has a meeting with top airline executives … Continue reading

Are TIFs Really Worth It?

Yesterday, Chicago’s Inspector General, Joseph Ferguson, released a report, “Budget Options for the City of Chicago,” detailing a grab bag of solutions to Chicago’s ailing budget– to the tune of almost $3 billion. His recommendations include several options to increase revenue, increase efficiency and cut waste. Perhaps one of the most contentious recommendations in the … Continue reading

A More Transparent Cook County

Yesterday, Cook County released an unprecedented amount of data on their website: http://data.cookcountyil.gov/. Using the same technology as the City of Chicago’s Data Portal, Cook County has posted data related to economic development, county finances, public safety, property and taxation, and more. At the press conference yesterday, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said, “When … Continue reading

Unlikely Allies

The time for denial is over. The Congressional “Super Committee” is already at work with a mandate under law and big cuts are coming. For too long politicians have called for deficit reduction without the political courage to say specifically where the money would come from. Politicians tend to hide behind proposals for across-the-board cuts … Continue reading

$1 Trillion

To break through the ideological divide that has dominated Washington this past year and offer a pathway to address the nation’s fiscal problems, the National Taxpayers Union and Illinois PIRG joined together to identify mutually acceptable deficit reduction. The report, “Toward Common Ground,” documents our findings. The study identifies 54 specific cuts in federal spending, … Continue reading

Do you live in a TIF district?

Quick refresher: Local and state governments sometimes use subsidies to encourage the redevelopment of economically challenged areas. Tax-increment financing (TIF) has been an increasingly common tool used for this purpose. TIFs allow cities and towns to borrow against future tax revenues from an area in order to invest in immediate infrastructure or development projects. When … Continue reading

Lessons from the parking meter deal

Chicago Reader writer Mick Dumke’s story yesterday, “Rahm Emanuel’s shifting views of the parking meter deal,” provides a detailed time line of how Mayor Emanuel has changed his tune time and time again in regards to the parking meter deal. First, he admits that it was a bad deal, but claims that it’s too late … Continue reading

Wait, what is TIF?

I was at a BBQ this weekend for Labor Day and a friend of mine told me that she had been reading ‘Tax Dollars and Sense,’ but was embarrassed because she had no idea what tax increment financing is. That’s understandable. So, in an effort to hold up the “sense” part of this blog, here … Continue reading