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Tax Increment Financing


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.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
Thu Jun 13, 2013

The Pros And Cons Of Chicago’s TIFWorks Program

Chicago's TIFWorks program provides tax increment financing (TIF) funds to help cover workforce-training costs for employers. Job trainers say the program offers much-needed resources for workforce development. But others say TIFWorks needs to be more transparent and accountable. Progress Illinois takes a closer look at the program.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Wed Jun 12, 2013

DePaul Arena Project A 'Monstrosity,' TIF Panelists Say

Chicago's Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Program is intended to take property taxes today for investments that will produce more property taxes in the future, the Chicago Reader's Ben Joravsky said at a TIF forum Tuesday night.

"I have no problem with the TIF program in the essence, but we don’t live in the essence. We live in Chicago, Illinois," said Joravsky, a panelist at the packed TIF Illumination Project's town hall meeting for the 50th Ward.

Joravsky said the city's TIF program has become "deranged" and blasted Mayor Rahm Emanuel's recent plan to kick in $55 million in TIF funds for a new DePaul University basketball arena near McCormick Place.

The $55 million would be used to buy the current property now paying property taxes and essentially turn it into a tax-exempt property.

"It’s a complete reversal of what the whole TIF program is about,” Joravsky said at the forum, held at Devon Bank Tuesday night.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Thu Jun 6, 2013

TIF Program Angers Bridgeport, McKinley Park Residents

Residents of Chicago's 11th Ward were outraged upon learning that $57.4 million in property tax money was sitting in their tax increment financing (TIF) districts' collective bank accounts at the end of 2011, according to data unveiled by the CivicLab.

One resident suggested at least one way that money could have been put to use at the CivicLab's TIF Illumination Project meeting Wednesday night.

Maureen Sullivan with Bridgeport Alliance said she has been pushing the city to renovate the Ramova Theater at 35th and Halsted streets for years, to no avail.

The city currently owns the property, which has been closed since 1986, Sullivan said.

“It could be a thousand-seat performance space and the largest economic generator on Halsted Street, and it's sitting there empty," Sullivan said in remarks after the meeting, held at the McKinley Park library. "And I'm so angry, because when I talk to the city, they dangle (TIF) in front of you, like 'we may be able to get you some TIF funds for this.'”

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Wed Jun 5, 2013

Taxpayers Protest TIF Funding Of DePaul's New Basketball Arena (VIDEO)

The allocation of $55 million of Chicago’s tax increment financing (TIF) dollars for the building of a new DePaul University basketball arena at McCormick Place is “unjust,” according to a group of approximately 20 protesters who took their message to the university’s student center Wednesday.

“A private university can fund their own stadium,” said Adenia Linker, 45, a member of the education advocacy group, Raise Your Hand, and participant in Wednesday’s protest. “I understand the need for tourism dollars and the need to bring people to the lake, but we also need the infrastructure of education for the next generation.”

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Wed May 22, 2013

South Side Residents Discuss School Closings, Red Line & TIFs At Englewood Meeting

Englewood residents are not yet sure what will become of their six neighborhood schools on Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) list to shut down or relocate in June.

But South Side community members at a Resident Association of Greater Englewood (R.A.G.E.) meeting Tuesday night said if the Chicago Board of Education approves CPS’ school action plan, they want all shuttered schools to become village centers for the neighborhood.

“We do not want any of our institutions closed in the community, but if they are going to close it, at least let it be reopened for something that can serve the community,” said community leader Aysha Butler with R.A.G.E.