Monday, August 29, 2011

Rahm: Make Sure TIFs Bring Economic Development, Or Else....

Too bad this didn't happen ten or fifteen years ago:
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel today called for standards to ensure that developers who use special taxing districts meet economic development goals. The goals set for each of the city's future tax-increment finance districts also will have to fit into a long-term city economic development plan yet to be drafted, Emanuel said."  Read the whole story in today's Tribune.
"In his first week in office, Mayor Rahm Emanuel created a 10-person Task Force to perform a top-to-bottom evaluation of Tax Increment Financing, a $500 million taxpayer-funded economic development tool that has lacked performance standards for 20 years.

The mayor gave the task force a clear mandate: Conduct a comprehensive review of TIF and recommend the reform necessary to ensure TIF funds only go to projects that offer a return on investment to the people of Chicago in the form of new jobs and economic development.  [...]

If the project does not meet long-term economic development goals, it will not receive Chicago taxpayer funds. Period.
Read the entire story in the Sun-Times.
Uptown has five TIF districts:
Some of them have been very good in helping add to Uptown's economy.  Without them, the Black Ensemble Theatre, the rehab of the Borders building, and some of the new restaurants on the 4800 block of Broadway would not exist.

Others, well....let's just say unchecked power, a "hold your nose and shake hands" deal with Daley, and no oversight process combined to make someone's peculiar sense of "urban planning" a reality and didn't do a hell of a lot to make Uptown progress economically.  Let's hope those days are over, and do what we can to ensure no one else sees a TIF as a private piggy bank.

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