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Tom Tresser
PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:36pm
Wed Sep 14, 2016

Chicago City Council Roundup: Water & Sewer Tax Hike Passes, O'Hare Bonds Get Approved

From a new water and sewer tax to O'Hare bonds and TIFs, Progress Illinois rounds up highlights from Wednesday's Chicago City Council meeting. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:54pm
Tue Jan 12, 2016

Chicago Development Panel Advances Controversial Uptown Housing TIF Project

Chicago's Community Development Commission (CDC) unanimously approved a controversial plan Tuesday to provide a $15.8 million tax increment financing (TIF) subsidy for an upscale apartment complex in Uptown, despite opposition from some local low-income housing advocates.

The $125 million luxury housing development, proposed for the former Columbus Maryville Academy site near the city's lakefront, still needs Chicago City Council approval.

A group of about 30 community activists spoke against the proposal outside of City Hall's council chambers before attending the CDC meeting. The protesters toted signs reading, "No Public Funds For Private Profit." They saw support from Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey and TIF activist Tom Tresser.

"I stand with my Uptown neighbors ... to demand that Mayor Emanuel's rubber stamp not be used one more time by the Community Development Commission to rob the taxpayers of Chicago and send millions of public dollars into private pockets," Tresser, with the TIF Illumination Project, said during public comment at the CDC meeting.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
2:09pm
Fri Jun 27, 2014

CivicLab's 'Democracy Design Studio' To Launch New Tools, Programs For Activists

Progress Illinois profiles the Chicago-based CivicLab, which turns one year old next month, and its latest efforts to aid local activists.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:49pm
Wed Aug 7, 2013

Far South Side Residents Demand More TIF Accountability At Town Hall Meeting

Far South Side residents were shocked to learn that the five tax increment financing (TIF) districts located in the 19th Ward sucked up $4.2 million, or about 11 percent, of their property tax dollars in 2011, according to data from the CivicLab.

Three of the TIF districts located 100 percent within the ward, which includes the Beverly, Mount Greenwood and Morgan Park neighborhoods, raked in a total of $24.9 million since their inception through the end of 2011. The three districts were created in 1994, 2001, and 2007.

The news was especially troubling to the approximately 30 residents who attended the CivicLab's 19th Ward  TIF Illumination Project meeting Tuesday night, seeing as though a portion of that money would have otherwise gone to the public school district and other government units were it not for the city’s controversial economic development program.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:40pm
Fri Apr 12, 2013

CivicLab Highlights Questionable TIF Projects In Uptown

The city’s tax increment financing, or TIF, program is an economic development tool, but it should really be called a Chicago bailout for private companies, some Uptown residents said at a town hall meeting Thursday night as part of the CivicLab’s TIF Illumination Project.

“Why don’t we call (TIF) Chicago welfare,” 46th Ward resident Ryne Poelker asked at the meeting held at the Peoples Church of Chicago. “Why don’t they call it a bailout?”

Property taxpayers in the 46th Ward paid out about $87.6 million for TIF projects in the area since the inception of the program under former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington through 2010, according to the CivicLab’s data analysis.

More than half of that money went to private developers for projects such as the Wilson Yard, a retail space at 4400 N. Broadway Ave., that houses a Target, Aldi grocery store and low-income housing units. The project received more than $50 million in TIF funds, according to the CivicLab.