Grassroots Organizations Demand Halt to Lincoln Yards and 78 TIF Votes

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

By: Ashmar Mandou

On Wednesday, the City Council approved a tax-increment financing deal for The 78 development in the South Loop by a vote of 31-14 as well as approved the much controversial Lincoln Yards TIF in a vote 32-13. Following the vote, Mayor Rahm Emanuel stated, “These are investments in the future that are not bound by the boundaries of the space. They will actually have dividends throughout the city of Chicago.” The City Council Finance Committee voted to approve a total of nearly $2.4 billion in tax-increment financing for the Lincoln Yards and The 78 projects. Sterling Bay and Related Midwest will give an additional $80 million to $400 million. Prior to the council vote, Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot and a few grassroots organizations shared their opinion on Lincoln Yards and The 78 projects earlier this week.

“There are likely sufficient votes to advance these proposals tomorrow. I am not yet the mayor, and I recognize that the current administration and City Council must decide whether to carry this vote forward according to the interests of the constituents they serve. Either way, upon swearing in, I will engage with the community and committed activists who have advocated forcefully for affordable housing, park space and the responsible use of tax increment financing dollars for many months. And in making future decisions about these and all other deals, we will work with stakeholders to allow for robust community input from the beginning and throughout.” -Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot

“We appreciate the actions by Mayor-elect Lightfoot to delay this vote and Mayor Emanuel’s acquiescence to the will of Chicago voters.  But 48 hours is not a meaningful delay for projects that will impact the city for decades to come. The subsidizing of luxury developments is not the right priority for Chicago. The officials that should decide what the right priorities for Chicago will be sworn-in in May and no votes should be happening around these projects until that time.” -Grassroots Collaborative

“Lincoln Yards’ TIF will cost Chicagoans $900 million in direct infrastructure costs and $400 million in financing, while the “78” will cost taxpayers $700 million in direct costs and $400 million in financing. The costs to taxpayers for both projects could also rise, while public schools expect to lose upwards of a billion dollars in funding from the handouts that would otherwise have gone to CPS.” -Chicago Teachers Union

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