Major Reforms for City’s TIF Funds Underway

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Business

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Business

By: Ashmar Mandou

New reforms underway for the City’s tax increment financing (TIF) funds, announced Wednesday. These reforms, which affects how TIF spending occurs within existing districts, will increase transparency for future TIF distributions while creating new guidelines for TIF spending, internal review and approval processes, and public disclosures. “Each year, the City receives hundreds of millions of dollars in property taxes through the TIF program – and residents deserve to know that their money is being used well,” said Deputy Mayor of Economic and Neighborhood Development and Chair of the TIF Investment Committee, Samir Mayekar. TIF is a state-regulated economic development tool that allows municipalities to allocate property tax growth within designated TIF districts toward local needs involving economic development, public infrastructure, schools, affordable housing and other uses. The reforms brought forward today are meant to ensure that there is a standard level of accountability across. The City is bringing additional transparency and accountability to the TIF system with the following reforms:

Creation of a new TIF Investment Committee: As one of her first acts in office, Mayor Lightfoot reorganized an existing TIF Task Force committee that internally reviewed potential TIF expenditures. The newly created TIF Investment Committee now aims to center equity in its decision making. Supported by the city’s first-ever Chief Equity Officer Candace Moore, the committee has developed a routine analysis to guide future investments and ensure they are aligned with the administration’s commitment to promoting equity citywide. 

Publication of new TIF Program Guide:  This new guide, which will be updated annually, will offer clarity to taxpayers, researchers and the development community on how the City operates its TIF program. 

Release of data for public review:  To keep Chicago residents informed of how the City is spending TIF, Mayor Lightfoot instructed the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) to publish TIF spending decisions on a monthly basis. Going forward, the City will make it easier to find information on TIF by publishing annual reports as well as a new, user-friendly version of the long-standing online TIF Portal. This information is now available at

“These historic reforms will allow Chicago to ensure TIF resources are properly allocated to support critical infrastructure and provide the highest value for areas of the city that need them most,” said 3rd Ward Alderman and Budget Committee Chair, Pat Dowell.

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