Thursday, February 1, 2007


By accused we mean allegations of managing the TIF fund (Tax Increment Financing Districts) as a personal Slush Fund. There are approximately 14O plus TIF designated areas where development has occurred or is occurring throughout the city. For some time now, there have been debates over who is actually picking up the short and long run costs and how are the tax payers being affected, property taxes, conditions of our schools and our poor pensions, etc. In the long run was there always another way to go besides TIF? TIF for the most part has not been transparent, parts are but TIF is very complicated and it gives benefits to developers. There have been questions on how our elected and appointed Alder representatives benefit or whether or not they benefit at all and does it help being a rubber stamp for the Mayor? Power, continuity and continual political movement appears to be on the plus side. Lets take a look at a brief view below, as a semi balancing factor on Alder, city council as a whole and the Mayors involvement.

Individual Aldermen:
It is well-known that City Hall and the City Council is unlikely to establish a TIF or approve a TIF subsidy unless the Alderman supports the project. This gives the individual Alderman a significant role in both the creation and implementation processes.

City Council:
The City Council as a whole has not developed significant informal powers on the TIF issue.

In Chicago's current political climate, the Mayor's preference and priorities have a strong influence over the actions of City Council Members, appointed bodies like the CDC, private developers, and other governmental bodies. The Planning Commissioner (Alicia Mazur Berg) is the Mayor's eyes and ears on TIF issues.

An organization that has been deeply involved in TIF and looking for accountability with facts has run up against many obstacles in its tenure and continued funding is the latest one. So they are preparing to shut their doors. The below link is will show a great deal of their massive background work, it provides TIF areas and maps with statistics for those so inclined. Bottom line the opinion is.
TIF is the Mayors Virtual Slush Fund and were going to continue paying for it for a long, long time.

The CTA's falling apart, the CPS is in constant financial crisis, the city's squandering hundreds of millions in TIF funds--and now we've lost a group that made it its business to keep tabs on this sorry mess.
The Neighborhood Capital Budget Group, one of the city's only independent budget watchdogs, is shutting its doors. "We're closing shop on Friday," says Jacqueline Leavy, NCBG's executive director. "Basically, our grant money dried up."
Founded in 1988, the nonprofit NCBG scrutinized city, CTA, and CPS budgets. But perhaps its most significant achievement was the creation of a TIF fact book. We suggest you take a serious look at the maps, all parts of the city are linked up nicely.

Some of you may not like it but the Reader brought the above story to print. There is always a balancing factor to the liberal media at times, especially regarding TIF.