Dozens of South Shore residents weren’t too happy upon learning that a portion of their property taxes
have been used as part of the city’s tax increment financing, or TIF, program.
Tom Tresser, co-founder of the CivicLab, came to the 7th Ward, and is heading to others, as part of the volunteer-based TIF Illumination Project, which is intended
to promote TIF transparency and provide Chicago residents with a
snapshot of what the program is — or isn’t — doing for their communities.
can’t believe that it’s so much money that’s out there that the
community does not know about that’s not channeling back into our
community, especially with all the schools closing,” Renita Jones, a
South Shore resident of more than 14 years, said after Saturday's
Taxpayers are largely kept out of the loop when it comes to how their property taxes are used by tax increment finance (TIF) districts, according to Tom Tresser, co-founder of the Civic Lab.
Aiming to promote transparency in government and give residents background information on neighborhood TIF projects, the Civic Lab and
the TIF Ad Hoc Committee of the Washington Park Community hosted a town
hall meeting at the Washington Park Field House Saturday.
A thread of optimism
ran through Thursday, the fourth day of the Chicago teachers’ strike,
as both the union and the school board hinted that a deal could be
reached by Friday, with a possibility of children heading back to school
as early as Monday.
That optimism also extended to yet another downtown
rally that brought an estimated 3,000 picketing teachers and supporters
outside the Hyatt Regency Hotel at 151 E. Wacker late Thursday
Later, the group, lead by a marching band from Morgan
Park High School, rallied at a park near Congress Parkway and Michigan
There, speakers railed against Chicago School Board member Penny Pritzker, who they say received $5.2 million in TIF – tax increment financing
– dollars for a Hyde Park Hotel. The Pritzker family owns the Hyatt
Hotel chain. Recently, a group of Chicago teachers called for Penny
Pritzker to step down from the school board.
Chanting “TIf money’s our money,” and carrying signs that read
“Corporate Welfare is breaking Chicago’s back,” more than 100 protesters
marched through downtown Chicago yesterday to protest the allocation of
$29.5 million in tax increment financing (TIF) for a corporate tower in
the West Loop.
“This money is cut right off the top of
our property taxes, and we need to reinvest it in areas other than the
Loop,” said Rita Pope, a resident of Evanston who was born in North
Lawndale. Pope volunteers for the Organization of the North East and
helped pass out flyers during Tuesday’s protest.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s recent decision to chip in about $30 million for
a subway tunnel and a 1.5-acre public park to be built alongside a new
West Loop office building has got some Chicago residents upset.
Tuesday morning about 70 community activists marched to the Mayor’s
Office from the proposed site of the 45-story, $300 million River Point
development near Lake and Canal Streets. The group said they want the
city’s money used for parks in the city’s poorest neighborhoods, not in
Chicago’s thriving downtown area.
Audience members offered a range of ideas at a city hearing last night
about what to do with the site currently occupied by the 108 year-old
Fisk coal-fired power plant in the Pilsen neighborhood, which closes
this September. Some of the ideas included a park, funeral home, public market, trade school,
and even a high school sports complex.
But all these visions will
be stymied if the Midwest Generation company cannot find a buyer
willing to not just build something new but also clean up, or remediate,
“There is a huge marketing job ahead of us,” acknowledged
Jean Pogge, CEO of the Delta Institute, the Chicago non-profit in charge
of a task force Mayor Rahm Emanuel created to determine the site’s future.
There simply aren't enough rental homes available to extremely
low-income households in Illinois, according to a new report, and
housing advocates say that needs to change in order to prevent increased
homelessness in the state.