In late August, State Rep. John Fritchey (D-Chicago) introduced a trifecta of bills (HB 6902, 6903, and 6904) that, if signed into law, would revolutionize how the City of Chicago's controversial tax increment financing (TIF) program operates. Fritchey, however, is running for Comm. Forrest Claypool's seat on the Cook County Board of Commissioners and is slated to leave the General Assembly. Will his bills die?
Not necessarily. Earlier this week, State Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) told Progress Illinois that she is "very interested" in carrying the torch on some version of Fritchey's package. The precise wording of the legislation could change, but Steans said she would look at pushing a Auditor General investigation; examining the definition of blight in the current state TIF law; increasing transparency in "porting" TIF dollars; and excluding certain taxing bodies from the program going forward. "With the mayoral election coming up, the timing is good," Steans said.
What's less clear is how, legislatively, this may play out. It's unlikely the bills will get a hearing during the fall veto session, according to Steans. And state representatives may want to sponsors the bills, as well. "What I don't know is if someone is going to pick this up on the House side," Steans said. State. Rep Greg Harris (D-Chicago) did tell PI he's talked with Fritchey about the bills and Fritchey himself said he's canvassing his colleagues for support. A call to State. Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago), a leader in the Democratic caucus, wasn't immediately returned.
In other TIF news, State Rep. David Miller (D-Lynwood), who is the Democratic nominee for State Comptroller, has proposed an online database to help the public understand how each of Illinois' 1,000 TIF districts are operating if he's elected in November. “There are millions of dollars at stake," he said in a press release, "and taxpayers deserve to know whether or not these TIFs are benefiting their community."