“…the great scam known as the city’s TIF program.
At its essence—if I give it the best possible spin—the TIF program lets the mayor take property tax dollars from the schools, parks, and county in order to invest the money in projects that he hopes will someday generate even more property tax dollars.
Think of it like pulling ten bucks out of your paycheck and investing it in Starbucks stock. In several years, if all goes well, your $10 may have grown into $100. Incidentally, if you do this several thousand times over, you might get wealthy enough to become one of the few people the mayor makes time to meet with—unlike, for example, everyone else who lives in Chicago.
In the case at hand, Mayor Emanuel has decided to take the $55 million and buy some property on which he’ll build the aforementioned hotel and basketball arena.
But once the city owns it, this land will move off the property tax rolls because publicly held property is exempt. So instead of investing your property tax dollars in developments that create more property tax dollars, Mayor Emanuel has decided to invest them in a scheme that will yield no property tax dollars whatsoever. Think of it as spending $55 million to lose money.
Just so you know, the land in question, near the intersection of Cermak and Prairie, is not blighted property that no one wants. Which, by law, is what TIF funds are supposed to be invested in.”
If you don’t understand why myself and some of your Chicago tumblr friends are foaming at the mouth today, this is why. Please read this article by the one of four people still employed as a journalist that is paying attention to the scam the mayor is running.