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Tax Increment Financing

This category contains 11 posts

Case study: The Central Loop TIF District

Every week, Tax Dollars and Sense will offer a case study to analyze the problems with TIF. This series will start with the most famous TIF district– the Central Loop. The Central Loop TIF District was created in 1984 at the request of Mayor Harold Washington, who was worried that the shoppers were developing negative … Continue reading

Job creation

Last week, the Chicago Community Development Commission approved a tax increment financing project that will “create” 500-650 permanent jobs lasting ten years by relocating Sara Lee’s meat division, MeatCo’s headquarters. The project is going to cost Chicago taxpayers up to $6.5 million dollars. The proposed contract stipulates that MeatCo will receive $1 million every year … Continue reading

Progress report: TIF reform

It has been over 90 days (93 to be exact) since Mayor Emanuel’s TIF Task Force released their recommendations on how to reform the broken system of economic development. And when they did, the Mayor said that he planned to fully implement them. So, how much progress has been made so far? Very little. Chicago’s … Continue reading

What TIF reform should look like

Tax increment financing (TIF) has been a hot topic in the news over the past couple days. The Chicago News Cooperative’s article, “Tracking TIF Spending,” analyzes how and where TIF money is spent in Chicago using new data collected by CNC. Over at the Reader, Ben Joravsky is fuming against them again. And Progress Illinois … Continue reading

To retain or return? TIFs and the City budget

Mayor Emanuel is presenting his 2012 budget to the City Council tomorrow morning. Word on the street is that among a grab bag of fixes from fee hikes to grid-based garbage collection, he is planning on using 20 percent of unallocated tax increment financing (TIF) funds to infuse the City with an extra $15 million … Continue reading

Tip for Rahm: Don’t be Daley

Here is my op-ed that ran yesterday on Gapers Block and Progress Illinois: “No one will argue with the fact that Chicago’s budget situation is dire—and has been for some time now. But Mayor Daley masked the drastic fiscal situation in Chicago with year after year of short-term budget gimmicks. The hope now is that, … Continue reading

TIFs and Charities

The newly released Chicago Inspector General report, “Review of TIF Public Benefits Clauses and Charitable Donations,” is another example of why we need more transparency of tax increment financing in Chicago. The report finds that through the “public benefits clause” in a lot of TIF redevelopment agreements, the recipient of the subsidy is obligated to … 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

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

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