Below is an email we sent with our sister org, Raise Your Hand, on January 30, 2019.
RYH and more recently, our sister-org, RYH Action have been leading the fight for TIF reform in Chicago for 9 years. One of our first campaigns in 2010 was delivering 5,000 letters and emails to Mayor Daley demanding he declare a TIF surplus to help plug the budget hole at CPS. This led to over $90M being returned to the schools.
Since then, we’ve done campaigns almost yearly to get our city to rethink how they (mis)use and abuse the TIF program. Read about this work here: Our Presentation from Everything You Need to Know About TIFs.
One of our biggest fights came in 2013 after the city closed 50 schools and cut $65M from district school budgets. At the same time, Mayor Emanuel decided to give $55M in public dollars to build a private stadium for DePaul, tax dollars that could have been returned to the schools and other taxing bodies through surplussing unused TIF dollars. Instead, after a public revolt, the city decided to avert that particular misuse of funds and give the money to a nearby hotel instead. Later it was found out that some of that money actually went to Navy Pier.
What’s remarkable is that now the city wants to give $1.7B in public dollars to development in Lincoln Park (Lincoln Yards) and the near South Side (The 78). This is at a time when the heads of both the Zoning and Finance Cmmittees of the Chicago City Council are tied up in federal investigations, and when the public is desperate for more accountability and transparency in government.
Find your alderman here. Give her or him a call and tell them to #RejectTheMegaTIFs when they come up for a vote in City Council. Tweet the below infographic to her or him with the same message.
More TIF Resources For You!
Watch the live stream of an event we participated in this week at the Hideout with Chicagoans United for Equity (CUE), the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights (CLCCR), and Blocks Together: Everything You Need To Know About TIFs.
Check out CLCCR’s Chicago Land Use: A Guide for Communities. Scroll down to “Chapter 2: Tax Increment Financing (TIFs)” for a downloadable chapter and handouts from the above event. You can also find the Power Point from the event mentioned above. These are incredible resources for understanding the incredibly hard to understand TIF system.
Again, you can find Raise Your Hand Action's presentation from the event here.
One more thing- #VoteEquity... an indoor activity!
Have you voted for what you want our next mayor and city leaders to work on? The Vote Equity Project received over 250 reform ideas to build a Chicago for all of us - now it's time for YOU to vote for your top priorities! Vote here. Voting closes Thursday, 1/31.
Stay warm! Thank you for your participation & advocacy.
-The Raise Your Hand and Raise Your Hand Action Team