CHICAGO (CBS) — Falling property values mean falling tax revenues in Chicago.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Marsett reports, Cook County Clerk David Orr tells the Chicago Tribune that Tax Increment Financing districts, which draw their funds from property taxes are collecting less and less money.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Marsett reports
TIF districts were set up to generate money for economic development.
Orr told the Tribune that nine TIF districts that collected millions for economic development last year aren’t generating much of anything this year.
In particular, the LaSalle Central TIF District downtown will bring in no property tax revenue at all this year, even though it generated $20 million two years ago, Orr told the Tribune. Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently committed $29 million from that TIF for a riverfront park alongside a high-rise development, Orr told the newspaper.
Overall, TIF money is down around $56 million this year, the Tribune reported.
Orr is concerned, but city officials say they have been careful in their revenue estimates and spending plans, the Tribune reported.
In a TIF district, property tax dollars for schools, parks, and other taxing districts are frozen for at least 23 years, so that all property tax increases afterward to go into a fund to improve struggling neighborhoods.
The TIF program has drawn pointed controversy.
Notably, critics such as Chicago Reader columnist Ben Joravsky say TIFs amount to a slush fund for the mayor. Joravsky has been writing articles criticizing the TIF program for several years.