Alderman Urge Passage of TIF Back to Basics Reform Ordinance

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Business

By: Ashmar Mandou

The Chicago City Council Progressive Reform Caucus held a press conference outside of City Hall on Monday to urge members of the City Council Committee on Finance to pass the TIF Back to Basics ordinance.

“The Back to Basics TIF ordinance gets the City back to the original intended purpose of tax increment financing in redevelopment projects,” said Alderman Ricardo Muñoz. “TIF should serve only as a critical driver for development in areas where it is needed. Where a project cannot pass these tests, TIF simply should not be used.” The TIF Back to Basics ordinance would limit the use of tax increment finance dollars to redevelopment projects in “blighted” areas. Under this ordinance, redevelopment projects would only be eligible for TIF support if the developer can prove the site is blighted, vacant and/or obsolete, and that it passes the “but-for” test–in other words, that the project could not move forward financially but for the requested TIF subsidy. At present, however, TIF is notoriously used in already financially stable or even thriving neighborhoods, and is handed out to development companies that could adequately finance the projects in question through private means.

“For too long, TIF has been used as a pot of funds to line the pockets of developers and big corporations on projects in neighborhoods that need it the least,” said Ald. Leslie Hairston (5). “With this ordinance, we’ll rein that in and make sure tax dollars are being spent responsibly and where they’re needed.” The ordinance was introduced on Nov. 1, 2016, and is cosponsored by Ald. Sophia King (4), Ald. Leslie Hairston (5), Black Caucus Chair Ald. Roderick T. Sawyer (6), Ald. Greg Mitchell (7), Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10), Ald. Toni Foulkes (16), Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29), Ald. Scott Waguespack (32), Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35), Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36), Ald. Nick Sposato (38), Ald. Michele Smith (43), Ald. John Arena (45), Ald. James Cappleman (46) and Ald. Ameya Pawar (47),

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