One citizen's take on the Dick that makes Chicago tick.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Check out this great post on Progress Illinois regarding the city's massive TIF surplus: As Layoffs Loom, Daley Sits on A $1 Billion TIF Surplus
During a City Council Finance Committee hearing last Monday, Chief Financial Officer Gene Saffold and Community Development Commissioner Christine Raguso found themselves on the hot seat as a handful of aldermen demanded some long-overdue answers about how the $500 million in annual TIF revenue -- along with the proceeds of the city's parking meter, Skyway, and parking garage leases -- are being managed. Ald. Ed Smith (28th Ward) got right to the point, saying, "Show us all the money. Where we can see it. All of it.


Here's the takeaway: The TIF system has $1 billion in "unspent revenue from previous years" and plans to spend between $478 million and $643 million on new redevelopment projects in 2009. At the same time, the network of TIF districts will likely collect several hundred million more in "incremental property tax revenue" this year (though probably not near the $570 million collected last year). Do the math and we can assume that the surplus will still exceed $700 million or so at the end of 2009.


Which begs the question: As layoffs loom, why isn't the city spending more of this money to create jobs and relieve budgetary pressure

For more information on TIFs, check out the the Chicago Reader for Ben Joravsky's TIF Archive. It's everything you ever wanted to know about Mayor Daley's ever-growing slush fund. Required reading for every Chicago citizen.

photo via Chicago Reader

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