Chicago Sun-Times: “Anti-TIF marchers demand $4M from N. Side auto dealer”:

About 150 teachers, parents and activists marched into the Grossinger City Autoplex and demanded a check for $4 million Saturday.

That would be the “TIF” money — protestors called it “The Mayor’s Slush Fund” — diverted from the public schools and given to developers such as those who built the autoplex.

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“There’s a giant myth being spread all across this land … that local governments have no money, they need to take it out of the backs of teachers, take away their pensions,” Cook County Clerk David Orr told the cheering protestors. “Chicago ain’t broke. Chicago has put $2 billion tax dollars that the public doesn’t know about into these TIFs and there’s another $500 million being added every year. There needs to be a moratorium on these TIFs because there has been enormous abuse. They are supposed to go to blighted areas. It’s gone to Willis Towers. It’s gone to Grossinger. It’s gone to other major corporations. As we uncover the mayor’s slush fund, which this is, we’re going to discover that money can go to help the schools.”

The Daley administration argues that the public schools’ tax levy remains the same so money is not really diverted from education — the schools just reach deeper into homeowners’ pockets than they would without the TIFs. But if the city adopted the Chicago Teachers Union’s proposal to exempt schools from TIFs, it would immediately boost funding for schools by $250 million a year.