PI Original Adam Doster Tuesday June 17th, 2008, 10:24am

The Windy Citizen's TIF Map

By freezing the amount of money a district pays into city services for 23 years, tax increment financing districts (TIFs) were designed to bring economic development to poor, blighted communities that otherwise wouldn't attract investment. But Chicago's use of the financial ...

By freezing the amount of money a district pays into city services for 23 years, tax increment financing districts (TIFs) were designed to bring economic development to poor, blighted communities that otherwise wouldn’t attract investment. But Chicago's use of the financial tool has proliferated to what some consider unhealthy levels, as the Reader's Ben Joravsky explained in 2006:

There are plenty of reasons to oppose TIFs. They’re poorly regulated and, no matter what City Hall tries to tell us, they’re driving up taxes as a result of the millions they divert. But aldermen tell me they’re forced to go along with TIFs because they’re the only game in town when it comes to funding neighborhood development projects. It’s a go-along-to-get-along system: if you want money for your own ward, you have to vote for TIFs in all the other wards.

Even though TIFs have become the only option for alderman interested in spurring development -- they now cover 30 percent of the land area in Chicago -- the city provides few details about them through maps or the internet. To compensate, the folks at The Windy Citizen did the yeoman's work of collecting what information exists and creating a detailed map of where TIFs are located and how much money has been devoted to each. Check it out here.

(H/T Gaper's Block)

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