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:
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.
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!