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Tax Increment Financing


PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
Mon May 20, 2013

Education Activists Take School Closing Fight To City Hall (VIDEO)

A few hundred education activists kicked off the last day of the Chicago Teachers Union's three-day march against school closings at William J. & Charles H. Mayo Elementary School Monday morning. Education activists also delivered a petition calling for a moratorium on school closings to City Hall this afternoon. Progress Illinois was there for the actions. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Tue May 14, 2013

Chicago's 4th Ward Residents Call For More TIF Transparency, Accountability At Town Hall Meeting

The 11 tax increment financing, or TIF, districts in the 4th Ward took $5.6 million in property taxes from those living within the boundaries in 2011, the CivicLab revealed at TIF town hall meeting Monday night.

Four of those districts fall nearly 100 percent inside of the ward and had extracted about $42 million from property taxpayers since the start of the TIF program back in 1986 through 2011, said Tom Tresser, co-founder of the CivicLab and leader of the of volunteer-based TIF Illumination Project.

Monday’s TIF town hall was the CivicLab’s eighth community meeting. Tresser and other “TIF illuminators” are holding meetings across the city in an effort to raise awareness about Chicago’s economic development program. The CivicLab's project sets out to find what wards are TIF "winners" or "losers."

Craig Coleman, a 10-year resident of the 4th Ward, said Monday night was the first time he heard exactly how much property tax dollars local residents had kicked into the program. He raised concerns about the TIF program’s lack of accountability and transparency.

“I think it’s money off the books that should be put back on the books,” Coleman said in remarks after the meeting, held at Room 43 in Kenwood. “How do you change it, and does your alderman control this or ... who controls the law to change this? When it’s time for the mayoral elections, does it get swept under the rug like everything else?”

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Mon May 6, 2013

Englewood Residents Question TIF Program, Call For More Community Mobilization At Town Hall Meeting

Property taxpayers in Englewood were furious upon learning at a town hall meeting Saturday that their tax dollars had contributed at least $44 million to the Englewood Neighborhood Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District since it rolled out in 2001. According to data from the CivicLab's TIF Illumination Project, some $44 million of taxpayer dollars had funneled to the TIF district between 2001 and 2011.

In 2011 alone, the TIF district siphoned $5 million from property taxpayers in the area, which would have normally gone to local units of government such as schools and parks, according to the CivicLab. 

“The original concept is that (TIFs are) designed to have an impact on blighted areas, and just looking out the window, we know that a blighted area is all around us,” CivicLab's Bill Drew said at the TIF discussion, held at the Chicago Public Library's Hiram Kelly Branch. 

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Thu Apr 25, 2013

Supportive Housing For Veterans Coming To Chicago's Englewood Neighborhood (VIDEO)

By the end of June 2014, more than two acres of vacant land in Chicago’s South Side Englewood neighborhood will be transformed into an affordable housing development with services for veterans and their families.

Gov. Pat Quinn and Ald. JoAnn Thompson (16th) announced the new housing facility, called Hope Manor II, at a breaking ground ceremony today.

“As people of America, we have a profound debt of gratitude to the men and women who answer the call to duty and volunteer for our military, they are our heroes and always will be,” said Quinn.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Tue Apr 23, 2013

Uptown Residents Decry Proposed $220 Million Luxury Housing Development At 46th Ward Zoning Meeting

Opponents of a planned $220 million luxury residential building in Uptown were ignored and not permitted to ask the 46th Ward’s Zoning and Development Committee questions about the project at its meeting Monday night.

Members of the advisory committee, put in place by Ald. James Cappleman (46th), adjourned its monthly meeting at Weiss Memorial Hospital despite multiple people who had waited patiently with their hands raised to comment on the plan, which calls for 842 mostly high-income units.

“We are totally opposed to this plan,” Marc Kaplan of Northside Action for Justice shouted as some committee members quickly filed past him out of the the hospital’s auditorium.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Fri Apr 12, 2013

CivicLab Highlights Questionable TIF Projects In Uptown

The city’s tax increment financing, or TIF, program is an economic development tool, but it should really be called a Chicago bailout for private companies, some Uptown residents said at a town hall meeting Thursday night as part of the CivicLab’s TIF Illumination Project.

“Why don’t we call (TIF) Chicago welfare,” 46th Ward resident Ryne Poelker asked at the meeting held at the Peoples Church of Chicago. “Why don’t they call it a bailout?”

Property taxpayers in the 46th Ward paid out about $87.6 million for TIF projects in the area since the inception of the program under former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington through 2010, according to the CivicLab’s data analysis.

More than half of that money went to private developers for projects such as the Wilson Yard, a retail space at 4400 N. Broadway Ave., that houses a Target, Aldi grocery store and low-income housing units. The project received more than $50 million in TIF funds, according to the CivicLab.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Mon Apr 8, 2013

South Side Residents Question TIF Use In 8th and 9th Wards At Town Hall Meeting

Chicago’s tax increment financing, or TIF, program is intended to spur economic development and create jobs in neighborhoods that need it most.

But more than 50 South Side residents questioned the program's impact upon learning this weekend that millions of property tax dollars were diverted from local schools and other units of government and awarded to private companies.

“Even though they’re for blighted areas, we find that places in the city are using TIF money, like the Central Business District and LaSalle Street,” Tom Tresser, co-founder of the CivicLab, said at a TIF town hall meeting Saturday at Chicago State University.

PI Original
by Ashlee Rezin
Fri Apr 5, 2013

CTU Takes Lawmakers On Eye-Opening Bus Tour Of Communities Affected By School Closures (VIDEO)

The Chicago Teachers Union led a bus tour of blighted neighborhoods slated for school actions Thursday, providing legislators, stakeholders and members of the press with a first-hand glimpse of communities they say are being “destabilized” by Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) school closures.