On Friday January 11, 2019, CPS and other taxing bodies will sign off on the creation of two new mega-TIF districts at the Joint Review Board Meeting. City agencies such as CPS, the County, Chicago Park District, the Water Reclamation District and City Colleges will agree to the diversion of hundreds of millions of dollars to their orgs for TIF districts that will benefit private developers, at the cost of $2.4B total to taxpayers. This isn’t sound policy and should be vetted before a new city council and new Mayor---and with a more robust public dialogue.
The following open-letter was sent to the taxing bodies and will be hand delivered at the meeting on Friday.
January 9, 2019
To Local Taxing Bodies, Members of the Joint Review Board
This Friday at the Joint Review Board meeting, the Chicago Board of Education will be asked to sign off on two TIF districts at the cost of $2.4 billion to the taxpayers of Chicago. That’s based on figures included in the Redevelopment Area Project and Plan for each TIF, which were made public on December 12th, 2018.
Chicago is at a critical juncture. The long-standing chair of the finance committee has just been charged with extortion, and there’s a municipal election in less than 50 days. The citizens of Chicago deserve the opportunity for transparent and accountable government. This is not the time to fast-track massive projects that would include major subsidies for private corporations with huge implications for our schools, housing and transit equity, local business, etc. The creation of a TIF district impacts the revenue stream of our city and county and school district for twenty-three years; this is not something to be rushed through.
As a leader of one of the taxing bodies which are also impacted by the implementation of any new TIF districts, you have a fiduciary responsibility to your constituents to put this on hold until a newly elected city council and mayor can take the time needed to vet -- via public scrutiny, deliberation and debate -- both of these proposed districts and ensure that they represent balanced and equitable development.
Thank you for your consideration,
Jackee Pruitt, Action Now
Caroline Gaete, Blocks Together
Patrick Brosnan, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council
Kayla Villalobos, Center for Changing Lives
Patricia Fron, Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance
Leah Levinger, Chicago Housing Initiative
Robert Gomez and Katie Tuten, Chicago Independent Venue League
Angela Hurlock, Claretian Associates
Katya Nuques, Enlace Chicago
Amisha Patel, Grassroots Collaborative
Juan Carlos Linares, Latin United Community Housing Association (LUCHA)
Nancy Aardema, Logan Square Neighborhood Association
Judy Mansueto, Friends of North Branch Park and Nature Preserve
Juanita Irizarry, Friends of the Parks
Rev. Liala Beukema, LakeView Lutheran Church
Marc Kaplan, Northside Action for Justice
James Rudyk, Northwest Side Housing Center
Jennifer Ritter, Organizing Neighbors for Equality Northside (ONE Northside)
Erica Clark, Parents 4 Teachers
Joy Clendenning, Raise Your Hand for IL Public Education
Cassie Creswell and Wendy Katten, Raise Your Hand Action