Chicago mayoral hopeful Rahm Emanuel actually discussed municipal policy today, telling the Sun-Times he'll support listing on property tax bills the proportion of tax dollars flowing into the city's tax increment financing (TIF) funds. While property taxpayers who live in a TIF district may currently click over to Cook County Clerk David Orr's website to see how much of their taxes flow into the TIF pot, the data is listed as $0.00 on the actual tax bills themselves. U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley took issue with that misleading bit of accounting in a column for Progress Illinois published about two years ago, when he still sat on the Cook County Board of Commissioners.
Take Mayor Richard Daley's tax bill. We found that Daley, who has tightly controlled the city's TIF program, paid more than 90 percent of his property tax bill in the Near South TIF District, a pool of money under his control.
Emanuel, who recently discussed his campaign with Quigley, also said more data about the TIF program needed to go online. For a detailed critique of the city's first attempt at TIF transparency, check out Max Brooks and Dan X. O'Neil's review of the TIF Sunshine Ordinance's implementation.