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Tax Increment Financing
Quick Hit
by Aaron Krager
Thu Oct 13, 2011

Chicagoans Rally Against TIF 'Slush Fund', Bad Deals (VIDEO)

Take Back Chicago activists focused their efforts on the plight of Chicago schools yesterday targeting toxic financial deals and corporate welfare through tax increment financing districts (TIFs).

In the afternoon, more than 100 people set their sights on the Bank of America headquarters, a popular spot for protests this week, by marching through its lobby. Community groups, along with members of the Chicago Teachers Union, want the bank to renegotiate financial deals with Chicago Public Schools that they claim are costing the eductaion system $36 million every year.

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Quick Hit
Fri Jun 10, 2011

Number Of The Week: 17,467

That is the number of rental units in foreclosed properties in Chicago. In a report (PDF) issued Thursday by the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing, the 17,467 rental units came from 5,904 apartment buildings within Chicago -- which amounts to tens of thousands of Chicagoans who were left homeless in 2010.

The banks involved in the majority of the foreclosure filings are Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase, Deutsche Bank, US Bank, and CitiMortgage.
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PI Original
Mon Mar 21, 2011

Teachers Demand TIF Accountability

Parents, teachers, and advocates marched through the streets of Chicago's poshest neighborhoods Saturday, pleading with the Daley administration to free up some of his beloved TIF funds for the city's schools.

Quick Hit
Sat Mar 19, 2011

CTU Protest Of TIFs Leads To Arrests

Jackson Potter, a Little Village High School of Social Justice teacher and member of the Chicago Teachers Union, and another woman identified as Amber Smock from ADAPT were both arrested after leading 150 to 200 people -- about half of them teachers -- to march and rush in to Lincoln Park's Grossinger City Cadillac dealership as part of a rally for tax increment financing (TIF) reform. The two were arrested for misdemeanor criminal trespassing and were taken to the Near North police district.

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Quick Hit
by Micah Maidenberg
Tue Mar 15, 2011

TIF Reform Comes To Springfield

Tax increment financing seems ready to have a moment on the Springfield stage. "I think there are lots of questions about the TIF issue, whether they're used as slush funds, whether there's appropriate accounting for the way the dollars are spent," House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago) told Progress Illinois. "This seems to be a good time to have a look." In addition to tax increment financing, Currie said legislators need to examine the impact of the more than 90 enterprise zones around Illinois.

A host of TIF bills have been introduced into the current General Assembly. One of the bills proposed would exempt Chicago Public Schools from the taxing bodies that lose property tax dollars because of the existence of TIF districts in the city. Another would send "surplus" TIF dollars back to the taxing bodies each year. 

Bob Palmer, policy director for Housing Action of Illinois, said his organization has been part of a group of stakeholders, which includes people with both favorable and skeptical positions on TIF districts and enterprise zones, that State Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion), chair of the House Revenue & Finance Committee, convened shortly after the current General Assembly session started. "So far in the process we have just been sharing information and thoughts on our respective positions on TIFs and Enterprise Zones," Palmer said. There have been two meetings so far. Palmer thought that negotiations about a TIF bill could last the entire General Assembly session, with legislation coming up possibly in May.

Palmer said Housing Action of Illinois is particularly interested in State Rep. Cynthia Soto's HB 1976, which would allow TIF dollars to go toward low-income housing, and HB 1575, offered by State Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez (D-Cicero). The latter bill would tighten the definition of blight in the state TIF statute, essentially place a cap on the total amount of a city's tax base that could be included in a TIF district, and allow taxing bodies to opt out of TIF zones.

Late last month, an investigation by ChicagoTalks.org found that between January 2000 and July 2010, the City of Chicago promised private companies, such as United Airlines, Quaker Oats, and others, about $600 million in TIF subsidies, nearly half of the total amount promised during that time period.

Bradley, whose committee is handling TIF bills in the House, could not be reached by the time this post went live. Progress Illinois will update the site if we hear back from him.

PI Original
by Aricka Flowers
Thu Mar 3, 2011

The Pawar Win: Against All Odds

In an upset that no one predicted, 30-year-old Ameya Pawar will be the new alderman of Chicago's 47th Ward. He beat the Schulter machine, built by an incumbent who has been in office years before Pawar was born.