Sunday, October 5, 2008

Chicago Budget Solution: Take Money From TIFs

This can only be good news for Uptown. Read all about it at the Sun-Times here:

"[Chicago Federation of Labor President Dennis] Gannon suggested that Daley could wipe out the entire $420 million shortfall without any layoffs. His recipe would call for: raising taxes and fees, possibly including the Laborers Union's proposal for a $10 monthly garbage-collection fee; raiding the $500 million Chicago Skyway fund; sweeping money out of scores of tax-increment-financing districts; reducing consulting fees, and having city employees perform services that have been privatized by the city. What's wrong with the mayor taking $200 million out of the Skyway? It's a rainy-day fund. Well, it's raining, Mr. Mayor."

Skyway fund = $500M
TIF funds (total) = $800M

$1.3 billion dollars at his disposal; rising rates of violent crime, and the Mayor's attacking the police.

Ah ... it's a good day to be in Chicago.


  1. Suntimes reported that da mare is allowing the loop TIF to expire at the end of the year. It was implied this action was being taken because the TIF was under scrutny. This, reportedly, will put $111M back into the general funds, annually.

  2. Using the money from the sale of a long-term asset like the skyway to cover short-term operating expenses would be very short-sighted. Its like mortgaging the house to pay for a vacation or going out to eat. That kind of approach is part of what has led to the current financial meltdown.

  3. When Daley gets done selling all the City Assets where is he going get his money from next?

  4. When Daley gets done selling all the City Assets where is he going get his money from next?

    Who cares? He'll be long gone, and the Daley/Stroger names will be on all the good things "they" provided to the city with their wise leadership.

    Chicago is going to be the first city in history to be bailed out by the federal government. Its going to be a sweet sweet day.

  5. Trib, today:

    More than $500 million a year goes into the city's tax-increment financing (TIF) accounts, according to Cook County Clerk David Orr. Diverted from property tax revenues in Chicago's 160-odd TIF districts, the funds are used to subsidize development projects in those areas rather than going to the school system, parks and the city's general fund. That main operating fund, which supports police, fire and other services, is the one that is facing a funding shortfall.

    Daley hails TIFs as an invaluable economic incentive that has revitalized much of Chicago, but many now are looking to TIF funds for help with the budget crunch. The state's TIF law allows those funds to be spent only within the redevelopment districts.

    "We need to go to Springfield and change the state law so we can reclaim our TIF dollars that are being held hostage and put that money back in the general fund," said Ald. Thomas Allen (38th). "We're at least partly in the trouble we're in because of the TIFs."

  6. Look to Springfield. Good idea. Has anyone asked our Harris and Steans where they stand on TIFS? The answer will show their true colors.

  7. Steans family foundation pushed for and got a TIF in Lawndale right after Steans was elected. If nothing else, it put a fork in her campaign claim that all we needed was stronger "but for" language in the statute. What BS. Interesting note, Illinois statute is among the strongest in the nation on "but for" standard but that's what Steans wanted to fix. This one has no clue.