Monday, March 23, 2009

Alderman Shiller's "Experiment"

From Progress Illinois:

Shiller Plans To "Experiment" With TIF Transparency

We've been closely tracking the building momentum among some of the Chicago's aldermen in favor of reforming Mayor Daley's opaque tax increment financing (TIF) system. During her appearance on Fox's Good Day Chicago last week, Ald. Helen Shiller (46th Ward) explained why untangling TIF details is so complicated. She further noted that, until a citywide transparency ordinance is passed, she plans to "experiment with ... trying to get all of the information, all of the legislation, from the TIFs in my ward, for instance, on our website."

Read the entire article here.


  1. The 46th office does not respond to email or letters regarding the Wilson Yard Project but now they want to "serve" the ward by putting all the info on the Internet. I have to say after a decade of refusing to give any information, I am just a little skeptical. But I will check the 46th website on Friday I am sure the first hundred documents will be up by then.

  2. Who needs Helen's website to get this information? We have to tell us the truth. I mean, really, would you believe it to be complete and/or true if she did put it up there? It would most likely be altered anyway.

  3. Chuck you are right. FixWilsonYard does publish the truth. The web site and the legal battle need money to end the TIF insanity. Please contribute.

  4. Are there floor plans showing the layout of a sample apartment, the materials used on the floor, walls, appliances etc?

  5. I mean, really, would you believe it to be complete and/or true if she did put it up there?

    Which is exactly why these things have to be taken away from the aldermen and put under the care of a neutral overseer. Like an Inspector General, perhaps?

  6. As we have observed with Labor Ready and WY, Helen can openly lie with little to no challenge from the press. The IG would have the ability to curb some of her more blatant lies. Broadening the IG's authority is not the final answer, but it's a small step in the direction for more accountability. Many aldermen must be sweating over this, especially when it comes to their campaigning. Helen especially would have much to lose. She also is in a fix to oppose this. Well, she does her usual and calls it a political stunt. If it is, it will still kick her in the rear.

  7. All The Wilson Yard Annual Reports and Amended Changes are posted on

    We have done our very best to keep the Wilson Yard taxpayers informed on how their taxes--$62 million--are going to fund...
    ~ Subsidized housing (almost 200 units, much like the Cabrini Green housing Holsten made millions tearing down) on a busy commercial corner.
    ~ $10 going to Truman for a parking garage to serve Truman and 200 spaces for park-n-drive Cubs fans.

    Holsten also benefits since the last amendment releases him from any financial obligations if the TIF bonds don't generate the revenue. So the taxpayer gets a double whammy and pays again.

    Don't forget the TIF transparency ordinance will be coming up for a vote at the next City Council meeting.

  8. "I think everyone wants it [TIF] to be more transparent.

    "The TIFs are a little difficult because, in one part, because it's based on tax revenue. TIF is always one year behind. So all of the information about it is a year behind.

    "But the information about it also is in many different places. You pass an ordinance to create a TIF, you pass an ordinance for each redevelopment agreement you do, you may have amendments to those redevelopment agreements, the original ordinance the City passes has a budget, you could later amend that potentially or not. So there's a lot going on, and there's no way to know unless it's in one place, and right now you have to do a lot of searching.

    "The BIG discussion now really isn't so much about whether there should be transparency, but the best way to get there? And so some of us are going to experiment until this while we struggle to do it City-wide. We're going we're trying to get all the information our TIFs all the legislation for our TIFs in my ward for instance on our website. Maybe we will find some of the kinks, it may be informative, but we need to figure out how to do it City-wide."

    -Helen Shiller

  9. Hey, Helen! Time-saving tip for you:

    just link to UNC, they've been "experimenting" with putting TIF documents on their website for years

    Wilson Yard Legislative History

  10. Shiller claims that "all of the information about [TIF] is a year behind" then goes on to mention TIF district establishment ordinances and redevelopment agreements which become the law of the City of Chicago on the day they are passed. TIF REVENUE like all property tax revenue takes a year to become available.

  11. "...right now you have to do a lot of searching."

    hey, Judy, can I get an amen?

  12. "We're going we're trying to get all the information of our TIFs all the legislation for our TIFs in my ward for instance on our website."

    ALL the information, Helen?

    Don't forget...

    * the quarterly project progress reports Holsten is required to file with the City under section 3.09 of the redevelopment agreement

    * all the employment profile reports Holsten filed with the City under 8.08

    * all reports filed by Holsten with the City reporting on his hiring of Chicago residents under section 10.02

    * the semi-annual reports Holsten is required to file with the City reporting on his public benefits under section 8.21

    * all TIF expenditures, including those under $5K and so not reflected in the annual reports

  13. Sounds good Helen...not holding my breath though.

    She doesn't post ANYTHING negative, even for informational purposes, on her website.

    She teases with TIF transparency, she will give another recycling press release. Weak.

  14. Posted to what website? Her political campaign website?

    Please. Spare me the drama. How about taking up Everyblock on their offer? One Ward, One Disclosure for a cost less than a penny.
    (not a real site)

    All it needs is one, rebel alderman with deep seated roots fighting the powers that be.

  15. As a concerned Uptown resident, who believes this can be a great area, why don't we organize a public protest/rally in front of Shiller's office?
    If we want change, we need to force the change, and stop the corruption and abuse of the system for her political and financial gain.
    This is OUR community, so let's take it back.