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TIF Analysis Finds almost $2 Billion in City Accounts

9/27/2017, noon | Updated on 9/27/2017, noon
TIF Illumination Project is a volunteer program that was created in 2013 to explain to Chicago citizens how TIFs hurt ...
TIF Illumination Project reviewed Chicago’s 2016 annual Tax Increment Financing (TIF) report and found $1.4 billion in the city’s TIF accounts Photo Credit: TIF Illumination Project

TIF Analysis Finds almost $2 Billion in City Accounts

By Christopher Shuttlesworth

Several civic organizations are now questioning Chicago’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) program

after a recent analysis revealed that the city has over $1.4 billion in its 148 TIF accounts.

Tom Presser, who is the creator of the TIF Illumination Project, reviewed Chicago’s 2016 annual TIF

report and was astonished by the amount of money the city currently has.

TIF Illumination Project is a volunteer program that was created in 2013 to explain to Chicago

citizens how TIFs hurt their respective communities.

Presser explained that TIF was designed to mainly extract money from property taxes, which

specifically affects the African American community.

During the TIF Illumination Project analysis, volunteers found that Chicago’s TIF program collected

a staggering $6.6 billion in 2016. Reportedly, $493 million of property taxes were extracted by Chicago’s TIF districts and diverted from local units of government that rely on property taxes.

“TIF is a giant slush fund controlled by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and it hoards property taxes in wealthy areas and forbid to transfer the money to public good elsewhere,” Tresser said. “So, if you live in a community that is starving for resources with schools and programs that are closed, then TIF is a part of the answer.”

Currently, TIF Illumination Project is demanding a complete and independent audit of the entire TIF program and is recommending that the TIF program be frozen where no new funds would be collected or disbursed.

Other supportive organizations and representatives include Cook County Clerk David Orr, the Better Government Association, the Chicago Teachers Union, Raise Your Hand for Illinois Education and affordable housing advocates.

In a press release, Tresser said he thinks it’s time for an, “independent and comprehensive review of the entire TIF operation,” adding, “One thing is for sure, Chicago is not broke,” he stated. Tresser said he plans to update Chicagoans on the status of the TIF program.