Tax Dollars And Sense

Yesterday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that he will be immediately implementing some of the reforms proposed by his Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Reform Panel five months ago. All of the proposed reforms are necessary to fix TIF and need to become law before more of our tax dollars are wasted.

Today, the Chicago City Council voted 41-5 to give Mayor Emanuel more authority to enter into contracts for goods, work and services with respect to the G8 and NATO summits this Spring.

Every week, Tax Dollars and Sense offers a case study to analyze the problems with TIF. This week we will look at the Republic Windows and Doors project within the Goose Island TIF District.

Every week, Tax Dollars and Sense will offer a case study to analyze the problems with TIF. This series will start with the most famous TIF district-- the Central Loop.

Here are some recommendations for what Rahm’s New Year’s Resolutions ought to be so City Hall gets the reform that it needs.

Illinois lawmakers are up in arms about Sears' announcement to close 120 Sears and Kmart stores nationally.

Last week, the Chicago Community Development Commission approved a tax increment financing project that will "create" 500-650 permanent jobs lasting ten years by relocating Sara Lee's meat division, MeatCo’s headquarters. The project is going to cost Chicago taxpayers up to $6.5 million dollars.

States are spending billions of dollars per year on corporate tax credits, cash grants and other economic development subsidies that often require little if any job creation and lack wage and benefit standards covering workers at subsidized companies. These are the key findings of Money for Something: Job Creation and Job Quality Standards in State Economic Development Subsidy Programs, a 51-state “report card” study published by Good Jobs First, a non-profit, non-partisan research center based in Washington, DC.

It has been over 90 days (93 to be exact) since Mayor Emanuel's TIF Task Force released their recommendations on how to reform the broken system of economic development. And when they did, the Mayor said that he planned to fully implement them.

So, how much progress has been made so far? Very little.

Today, the Illinois Legislature will most likely pass Senate Bill 397 and approve a tax break for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and the Chicago Board of Exchange (CBOE) to the tune of $100 million a year.