Mayor Sitting on $1.4 Billion – What Gives?

The Chicago Department of Community Development has released the 2008 reports for its 162 Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts. Thanks to TIF researcher, Hugh Devlin, No Games can report the total balance of funds in the TIF accounts at the end of 2008 was $1,404,518,702 – let’s call it $1.4 billion. This summary was prepared by opening every one of the 162 PDF reports and manually pasting the balance for the tax district into a spreadsheet. These reports are official city documents and will be available online at the city’s web site shortly.

The TIF district that includes the site of the proposed Olympic Village is the Bronzeville district:

The Bronzeville TIF distri t covers a lot of ground.

The Bronzeville TIF district covers a lot of ground.

In 2008 the Bronzeville TIF district pulled $5,768,636 in property taxes out of the revenues available to city agencies.  At the end of 2008 this TIF district had $21,133,779 in its account. Download the report (PDF). Cook County Clerk’s web site about TIFs. City of Chicago TIF district summaries. TIFs explained and TIF resources. Ben Joravsky’s TIF reporting.

What will this money be used for?

What will this money be used for?

TIFs have sucked $3.1 billion out of the city’s budget from 1986 through 2007. They have been used, abused and mis-construed. The Mayor demands them from Aldermen in order to get any improvements in the communities. They are like money-draining zombies that can’t be killed and continue draining property taxes out of a neighborhood for decades, no mater why they were started and regardless if they help or hurt local improvements.

So. Mayor Daley and your assorted minions, can you please stop threatening us with your lack of alternate plans for economic development. Stop telling us “It’s the Olympics or nothing.” Release the $1.4 billion from your TIF slush fund and fix our schools, expand CTA service, re-open the shuttered public health clinics and create real, sustainable and equitable community economic development!

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2 responses to “Mayor Sitting on $1.4 Billion – What Gives?

  1. The city of Chicago broke? Yea right! These TIF’S have collected billions of dollars in property taxes that could have went to fund much needed education in our public schools, park district facilities, libraries and other starved projects. Daley uses our hard earned tax dollars to lure multi billion dollar corporations into the CBD subsidizing there relocation with TIF funds. Why would he pay to move companies into what he calls our “first class city”? Why does Mr. Daley continue to fund developers projects in a busted real estate market when banks are not even lending? This is why CPS students lag in test scores because this guy removes money from public education. Then people like Daley blames parents, teachers and students for being “lazy” and needing “reform” in public education. Why is this reported on the No Games Chicago site, but not in the Trib, Sun Times, WGN, ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and other non-reporting entities?

  2. 2007 aldermanic candidate

    The only reason I ran for alderman was to make sure the BIG issues like TIF’s were at least mentioned in my ward. I’m glad I did run. (I did not win but one rarely wins the first time.) The city is not so hard up for cash but it has been MISMANAGED by Daley for 20 years. Thanks No Games for publishing this TIF info.

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