TIF Protest in Chicago

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.


“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.

3 thoughts on “TIF Protest in Chicago”

  1. So let’s see, that’s three-quarters of a million from O’Leary’s and the same for Tapalaluna, $750K from Filo Spanito (oh wait, out of business), the same from Upper Deck (also out of business), three-quarters of a million a piece from Eduardo’s and the Hillside for those lovely outdoor cafes, a half-million from Megan Morrison (whoops, out of business), a half-million from Moxie, a dollar per magazine sold from Paperback Grotto, a million from the Chamber of Commerce (oh, wait, they hold those impartial political debates, so they get a pass), how about a dollar a ticket booked at the Egyptian Theater and a quarter per bon bon sold from the Confectionary, and maybe a flat half-million a piece from the other four bars and four restaurants downtown. All those second-hand shops? How about a quarter million a piece, sound fair?

    Looked at another way, we are scheduled to spend just shy of $11 million on “upgrading” just over 100 parking spots (and their surroundings), so that’s $100,000 per parking spot! Congratulations, you savvy people!

    While we wait for the enhanced property taxes to repay the TIF, that means the carrying costs are about $10,000 per parking spot a year or $30 a day (given Sunday is the lord’s day). Since only a fraction of the sales taxes comes back locally, along with all the restaurant and bar surcharges, that averages out for each parking spot needing to generate $1000 a day in sales. That’s just to stay even.

    Think that’s happening? Is downtown DeKalb generating $100,000 a day in sales above and beyond what it was doing before the renewal investment?

    But at least Castle Bank may eventually see some enhanced property values for its customers and whatever properties it holds in its own portfolio. So don’t feel sad for everyone!

    Good posting, Lynn. Keep shining a light to show DeKalb for what it is.

  2. Quick edit: I realize that a half-million is a lot for a bar or restaurant to rationalize forking over, so let’s put it in perspective: how about $5,000 per bar stool and $20,000 per restaurant table. Now you know what the renewal cost the taxpayers of the county (and the taxing bodies which would have gotten those funds).

    Suddenly those $6,000 Army toilets don’t sound so expensive!

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