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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:36pm
Fri Apr 11, 2014

Report: TIFs Play A Role In Chicago's Pension Crisis

With the media and public spotlight on Chicago's pension crisis, the non-partisan research center Good Jobs First is turning the attention to the city's controversial tax increment financing, or TIF, program.

In its recent "Putting Municipal Pension Costs Into Context: Chicago" report, the Washington, D.C.-based group asserts that the TIF program has played a part in the underfunding of pensions in the city.

"It's really hard to ignore the evidence that TIF has had some sort of impact on pensions," said Tommy Cafcas, research analyst at Good Jobs First, which works to promote corporate and government accountability.

"We know that TIF costs grew, and they started growing really quickly after 2000. We know that general fund revenues declined ... and we know that the city addressed its budget gap in part by making inadequate contributions to public pensions, so it seems reasonable that TIF plays a role in how the city thinks about addressing the pension issue."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
2:18pm
Thu Mar 13, 2014

Chicagoans, Aldermen Clash On $55 Million TIF Subsidy For McCormick Place Hotel

The Chicago City Council last week agreed to allocate up to $55 million in tax increment financing (TIF) funds for the development of a new Marriott hotel adjacent to the McCormick Place convention center. Progress Illinois details some of what proponents and opponents have to say about the project.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:58pm
Wed Mar 12, 2014

Election Preview: A Look At The 39th District State Representative Race

With less than a week until the March primary election, eyes are peeled on the 39th District state representative race that pits politically-connected incumbent State Rep. Maria "Toni" Berrios (D-Chicago) against community organizer and former Huffington Post reporter Will Guzzardi. Progress Illinois takes a look at the contest, which has been called possibly the "most important state legislative race in Illinois in the primary."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:34pm
Thu Mar 6, 2014

10th District Race: Candidates Sound Off On Elected Chicago School Board, TIF Reform

Three of the five candidates vying to unseat incumbent State Rep. Derrick Smith (D-Chicago) in the crowded 10th District Illinois House race took part in a forum Wednesday night, discussing everything from education to TIFs. Progress Illinois was there for the discussion. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:24pm
Tue Feb 25, 2014

Debate Over Luxury Housing Development In Uptown Rages On

An advisory zoning committee for Chicago's 46th Ward signed off on a private developer's request for $14 million in tax increment financing (TIF) assistance for a proposed luxury housing complex in Uptown at its monthly meeting Monday night.

The 46th Ward’s Zoning and Development Committee, put in place by Ald. James Cappleman (46th), approved preliminary plans for JDL Development's TIF project despite opposition from low-income housing advocates in the area.

A group of about 30 community activists staged a protest outside of Cappleman's office Monday night before attending the zoning meeting, held at Weiss Memorial Hospital. The protestors toted signs reading, "Stop displacing our neighborhood" and "Save Uptown diversity." 

"Cappleman, as alderman over his tenure in office, repeatedly supported gentrification projects that affect the community in ways that force out diversity from Uptown and that have devastating effects on low-income communities and communities of color in Uptown," community activist Ashley Bohrer said at the protest. "Building affordable housing would be the best way to use public money for public services, and that means helping communities that are in the most need." 

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
1:35pm
Thu Feb 20, 2014

Cook Co. Board Hopefuls Tout Endorsements At Candidate Forum; Boykin Fires Back At Residency Concerns

Candidates running in the crowded West Side Democratic primary race for Cook County commissioner had a chance to make their pitch to voters at a candidate forum Wednesday night. Progress Illinois provides some of the highlights from the event.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:17pm
Wed Feb 12, 2014

Ralph Martire: Illinois School Funding Reform Must Include Changes To Tax Policy

Reforming Illinois' public education funding system has to include fixes to the state’s tax policy, argued Ralph Martire, executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, at a DePaul University education forum Tuesday evening.

“For decades, Illinois has denied an adequate education to the vast majority of its school children, and it’s set up a structurally-racist system of education finance that specifically singles out African Americans and Latinos for very poorly funded education,” Martire said at the discussion about equity in education. “To fix that, we need to raise taxes the right way.”

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:57pm
Tue Feb 11, 2014

Candidates In Crowded 40th District Race Talk Pension Reform, Other Issues

From taxes to public education funding to statewide pension reform, the six candidates vying to represent Illinois' 40th District on Chicago's Northwest Side laid out their positions on a number of issues at a public forum Monday night. Progress Illinois was there for the forum.

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