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Report | Illinois PIRG | Tax

Jobs and TIF

Illinois PIRG’s report “Jobs and TIF: An Analysis of Job Creation and Tax Increment Financing” analyzes the records of 21 TIF-funded projects from the last decade with the biggest number of promised jobs – each project examined was required to create at least 200 jobs. The report checked to see whether the city is making sure developers are living up to their promises. 

Since TIF projects are typically justified byusing their purported job-creation benefits, and because the number of jobs created is relatively easy for the city to track, we obtained and examined records on projects with job-creations requirements above 200 from in the years 2000 through 2010. These projects should ought to be the most scrutinized TIF projects in the city. The results suggest, however, that Chicago’s TIF programs remain largely impervious to scrutiny and unaccountable to the public.  The findings show that among projects that promised to create the most jobs, there are unacceptably low levels of tracking and enforcement:

• The city could demonstrate consistent tracking of job-creation for only three (14 percent%) of these major TIF projects

• Out of 21 projects with some kind of jobs goal, 15 (71 percent%) did not provide annual evidence that the jobs goals were being met, but the city only asked only two2 of the projects to give money back.

• Not a single project complies with existing the 2009 “Sunshine Ordinance” that requires posting of five5 major documents online; most projects provide less than half.

• A significant number of projects (19 percent%) did not even have specific job-creation goals in their official agreements with the city.

To show the relative degree of overall transparency and accountability for each project, we created a scorecard to assign each a letter grade from “A” to “F” based on four criteria: whether enforceable standards were created, whether the developers hit their jobs goals and reported it to the city, whether the city reclaimed the TIF funds in instances where developers failed to hit their jobs goals, and whether all the information required to be available to the public is accessible.        

 

 

News Release | Illinois PIRG | Tax

Study Finds Only 52% of TIF-Related Job Creation Confirmed in Chicago

A new report released today found little tracking or enforcement of taxpayer subsidized private development projects that had promised job creation.  The analysis by the watchdog group Illinois PIRG comes one year after Mayor Emanuel’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Reform Panel released recommendations for how to fix the wasteful economic development program and underscores the need to implement reform to protect taxpayers.

More TIF money spent without transparency

By

In the City Council meeting held today, the council voted to enact two ordinances approving new TIF projects. With so much taxpayer money being spent, one would expect a transparent and thorough analysis of the projects to ensure they are worthwhile.  But for the most part, specifics are unavailable to the public.

$50 million parking ticket

By | Celeste Meiffren
Field Director

Chicago Parking Meters, LLC has sent another bill to the city, totaling $22 million. To date, the parking meter company has sought reimbursement of almost $50 million for lost revenue due to street closures and disabled parking, saddling Chicago taxpayers with even more debt.

Farm bill could sow seeds for obesity

By | Celeste Meiffren
Field Director

When Congress turns to reauthorizing the federal Farm Bill this summer, you might think that only farmers should care. But in reality, the decisions they make impact all of us, because there’s a real risk Congress will maintain a broken status quo that lavishes taxpayer dollars on the junk food ingredients that are helping to fuel the obesity epidemic.

Media Hit | Tax

Questions remain on infrastructure trust

A few days ago, the City Council passed an ordinance to establish the Chicago Infrastructure Trust — a nonprofit that will leverage private, for-profit investment for public infrastructure projects. Much of the recent attention has been on the lack of strong public protections to make the trust transparent and accountable to citizens. But there is a more fundamental question: Do we really need it?

News Release | Illinois PIRG | Tax

Infrastructure Trust Approved Without Proper Taxpayer Protections

Today the Chicago City Council voted 41-7 to establish the Chicago Infrastructure Trust, despite many continued, substantial concerns from aldermen, Illinois PIRG and other advocacy organizations, and members of the public.

Can we trust the Infrastructure Trust?

By | Celeste Meiffren
Field Director

The City Council is set to vote on the creation of the Infrastructure Trust at the City Council meeting on April 18, 2012. But right now, the ordinance that creates the Trust lacks basic public protections.

News Release | Illinois PIRG | Tax

Public Needs More Details on How Infrastructure Program Will be Financed

Illinois PIRG field director, Celeste Meiffren, released a statement today, in response to Mayor Emanuel’s “Building a New Chicago” program announcement.

Media Hit | Tax

$7 Billion Public-Private Plan in Chicago Aims to Fix Transit, Schools and Parks

At a time when the nation is only beginning to pull itself painfully and delicately out of a deep recession, and when cities and states are cutting essential services and wondering how to keep the courthouses open and the lights on, an infrastructure proposal for a single city with an estimated cost in the billions — with a “b” — is audacious. Mr. Emanuel, in an interview, suggested that nothing less than this “integrated, comprehensive approach” will do for what he calls “building a new Chicago.”

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