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Tax Increment Financing


Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Fri Jul 12, 2013

Cook County Property Tax Bills To Provide More TIF Transparency, But More Changes Are Needed

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.”

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Thu Jul 11, 2013

Chicagoans Criticize CPS Budget Cuts, Plan Meeting With School Officials Next Week To Discuss Funding (VIDEO)

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 district.  

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 uncertain future.

“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.”

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
Tue Jul 9, 2013

Chicago Activists Speak Out Against Public Service Cuts, Offer Alternatives

The concept of a social safety net in Illinois is under attack, according to Chicago activists who spoke out at a forum Monday evening regarding threats to public services. Members of the the Alliance For Community Services and other groups offered up various ways to avoid future social services cuts. Progress Illinois was there to learn more.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Mon Jul 8, 2013

Community Activists Turn Attention To Chicago’s TIF Program In Light Of CPS Budget Cuts

As local public schools begin to grapple with devastating budget cuts, community activists from across the city continue to put the spotlight on Chicago’s tax increment financing (TIF) program.

Since its inception in 1986, the city’s TIF program has raked in about $5 billion in property tax dollars. Of that money, $2.7 billion was diverted from the school district.

In return, Chicago’s TIF program looks to spur economic development in blighted areas by providing subsidies to companies for projects, such as housing complexes or a shopping center. TIF money has also been used for school building construction projects.

But at a recent TIF town hall meeting, Rogers Park residents criticized the program, saying it has done little to generate economic development in the 49th Ward and other struggling communities across the city.

“We need to end the TIF program,” said 49th Ward resident Don Olson at the CivicLab’s TIF forum held at Loyola Park last week.

Quick Hit
Thu Jun 27, 2013

Op-Ed: City Council Progressive Reform Caucus Speaks Out On CPS Budget Cuts

The Chicago City Council Progressive Reform Caucus members released the following statement on Thursday in response to the news of massive cuts to Chicago Public School budgets across the city.

Even after all the supposed cost-savings arising from the closing of 50 public schools, Chicago Public Schools are now facing the most severe budget cuts in their history. While we still do not know the full extent of these cuts, at least 850 CPS employees will lose their jobs. Schools received their new budgets this month and found their budgets severely reduced.

As elected representatives of the communities of Chicago, we are alarmed by the stripping of basic necessities which define a school. The neighborhood schools have been reduced to beggars, lacking such essentials as sanitation supplies, library book funds, field trip money, playground supervision. The principals have been given the new budgets and told to ‘do more with less.’

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Wed Jun 26, 2013

Emanuel Introduces Assault Weapons Ban, Student Safety Measure At Busy Council Meeting

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel introduced an ordinance at Wednesday’s city council meeting that looks to ban the import, sale, transfer and possession of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in the city.

The move comes in response to the concealed carry legislation the Illinois General Assembly passed last month that is currently awaiting action from Gov. Pat Quinn.

State lawmakers are required to come up with new legislation by a July 9 deadline following a federal court ruling back in December that struck down Illinois’ concealed carry ban. The deadline was extended from June 9 to July 9 to give Gov. Quinn more time to consider the bill once it passed.

Under the proposed statewide concealed carry legislation, HB 183, sponsored by State Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg), Illinois municipalities will have 10 days after the bill is signed to pass a new or updated assault weapons measure.

The Chicago Police Department is making a “strong effort” to bring down gun-related crimes and violence in the city in part by putting more police on the streets and getting “kids, guns and drugs” off of them, Emanuel said in remarks after the meeting.

“It is essential that we make sure we do everything to bring safety to all our communities and neighborhoods throughout the city,” Emanuel said. “The assault weapon ban, and making sure it’s comprehensive, is part of that overall strategy — bringing safety throughout our streets.”

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Fri Jun 14, 2013

CPS' Per-Student Budgets Will Exacerbate School Inequality, Education Experts Say

The Chicago Public Schools' (CPS) new per-student budgeting system spells big cuts for some schools, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and local school officials are learning.

CPS released next year’s individual school budgets to principals last week and, according to the CTU, schools across the city are seeing 10 percent to 25 percent cuts in funding. The union and education experts predict these cuts will lead to eliminated positions and more split-level classes, among other negative outcomes.

So far, a handful of schools have reported to seeing their budgets slashed by more than one million dollars.

“What we’re going to see is a degradation of education in neighborhood public schools, which is likely to result in even a widening of the inequalities that we already have in CPS,” said Pauline Lipman, professor of educational policy studies and director of the Collaborative for Equity and Justice in Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago.