Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel launched an online data portal on Friday as an attempt to help the public better understand how the city's tax increment financing (TIF) program is being used in their communities.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and officials from the Chicago Public Schools
(CPS) have not shown a good faith effort to pursue revenue as a means of offsetting the
district’s staggering deficit, according to Jesse Sharkey, vice
president of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU).
“The school district has
lots of options,” Sharkey said. “If the mayor took the same amount of
energy and initiative to pursue revenue for the schools that he’s taken
to pursue revenue when it comes to an infrastructure trust, or that he’s
taken when it comes to a river walk, bicycle program, NATO conference,
and other things ... There’s a number of ways they could find revenue.”
of community members at the CivicLab’s Logan Square TIF meeting
discussed ways to put more heat on city officials to declare a TIF
surplus as a means to help plug the school district’s reported $1
billion budget deficit. The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), Raise Your
Hand For Illinois Public Education, some elected officials and other
local groups have been pushing the mayor to declare a surplus as a means to help financially stabilize the school district.
city intentionally obscures how our property taxes are used to
subsidize projects for private business. Our tax money is used to create
private wealth,” said Marilena Marchetti, a Logan Square resident and
CTU member. “Given the situation our school district is in, this makes
no sense at all.”
Officials from the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) had few answers Wednesday
night for community residents outraged over devastating district-wide
budget cuts that threaten to deprive students of much-needed teachers
and resources next year. Progress Illinois was there for the heated meeting.
Cook County property taxpayers in a Chicago or suburban tax increment financing (TIF) district will soon learn how much of their money is being diverted from local units of government and sent to a TIF program now that the data is being added to county tax bills.
Cook County Clerk David Orr released his 2012 TIF revenue report Thursday and announced that the second installment of the 2013 property tax bill will include the TIF information. The bills will be mailed during the summer of 2014.
Currently, Cook County tax bills for constituents living within a TIF district show zero dollars are being siphoned off into a TIF fund. But there were 435 active TIF districts in Chicago and suburban Cook County, which pulled in a collective $723 million during the 2012 tax year, according to Orr’s report.
Tom Tresser, co-founder of the CivicLab, is one of many Chicago TIF activists who have been calling for the information to be included on property tax bills. Tresser said the data is going to make “all the difference in the world” when it comes to TIF transparency.
“Your tax bill is lying to you when it says zero,” Tresser said. “It’s not zero.”
Officials from Chicago Public Schools (CPS) agreed to meet with
community members at a Brighton Park Neighborhood Council (BPNC) public
meeting next week, following a massive protest Thursday. Roughly 200
parents and students gathered outside CPS headquarters to push back against impending budget cuts that threaten to strip critical resources from the
During the protest, the Thomas Kelly High School
marching band’s drum line performed what may have been its final
concert, according to Thursday's participants who say the school’s music program faces an
“How are they making things better,”
asked Anita Caballero, board president of the BPNC, who participated in the demonstration. “All of the schools
in the Chicago area are losing all of the things that make education
work, they’re losing teachers; they’re losing counselors; they’re losing
materials; and we can’t stand for it.”
Cook County Clerk David Orr released the the tax increment financing revenue report from 2012 Thursday, urging Chicago leadership to declare a surplus as a means to allocate some of the funds to schools.