Lincoln Yards Passes through Plan Commission, Aldermen will have final say on MegaTIFs

As we all expected, the Plan Commission rubber-stamped the Lincoln Yards Plan on Thursday. Thanks, to parent Andrea Tolzmann for sitting through the four-hour meeting and testifying for RYHA and to the other parents who attended.  You can read her statement below.

This project will go to the zoning committee and fully city council for a vote for final approval, likely in March.  Now is the time to call your alderman and tell them you don’t support having your taxes raised to pay for $900M in public dollars for private development in Lincoln Yards! There is also $400M in finance fees baked into this project.  

The whole city is telling Mayor Emanuel and Ald. Hopkins to slow this down. Tell your Alderman to take a stand. More info on taking action here.

Media coverage:

Chicago Tribune Editorial: Lincoln Yards: Shut down City Hall's conveyor belt

Chicago Reporter Lincoln Yards and the ‘lords’ of Chicago

One Illinois Chi.Commission Rubber-Stamps Lincoln Yards

My name is Andrea Tolzmann, and I’m speaking on behalf of Raise Your Hand Action. We’re an education advocacy group that is deeply concerned about the fast tracking of the Lincoln Yards project, just one day after another major scandal has erupted in this city around both the Zoning and Finance Committee Chairs being under federal investigation. The developers in this project, Sterling Bay, only publicly dropped Alderman Ed Burke as one of their tax lawyers this past Friday.

This is no time to be fast tracking multi-billion dollar projects that include major subsidies for private corporations with huge implications for equity in funding our city’s schools, our housing, our parks, transit, local businesses, etc. Chicago Public Schools is foregoing $477 million for this project and taxes are hiked on all Chicagoans to meet the levy to make up for this loss. There is also nothing included in the proposed plan to address the already full neighborhood public schools in the area.

Chicago is desperate for a new era of clean and transparent government, that serves all Chicagoans. This plan hasn’t even had a public hearing. The date for the hearing is Feb. 19, 2019. How can you sit here and pretend to be stewards of good government and let our city down in this way? Let this plan have the proper sunlight it deserves, and the proper vetting from Chicagoans across the city who will have their taxes raised to make up for the 1.3 billion in TIF dollars that will be diverted for 23 years. When this happens, we know that taxes get hiked on ALL of Chicago. This Plan Commission if not approving the TIF, but this fast-tracking today allows the Zoning Committee and the City Council to approve the project before the Mayor leave office and newly elected officials step up to grow a new and better city for all Chicagoans.

You can watch video of Andrea's speech here.

Illustration: Matthew Tolzmann

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