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Economic Development

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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
11:51am
Wed Sep 9, 2015

New Accounting Rule Requires Cities, States To Disclose Tax Break Costs

Government reporting on tax-based economic development subsidies will become more transparent under a new policy from the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB).

That’s the organization that sets accounting and financial reporting standards for U.S. states and localities.

Under GASB’s “tax abatement disclosures” rule released in mid-August, state and local governments will have to disclose how much revenue they lose as part of income, property and sales tax breaks, including those designed for economic development purposes.

GASB said its new rule, the first of its kind, will make it easier to determine the impacts of tax abatement programs on a government’s fiscal condition and ability to raise revenue.

“This new guidance will result in people who use governmental financial statements having access to essential information about the tax abatements governments enter into,” said GASB Chair David Vaudt. “Not only will this mean that they’ll have access to information that will allow them to better assess a government’s financial health, but it will also make the impact of these agreements much more apparent.”

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
10:15am
Wed Sep 2, 2015

Illinois African-American Jobless Rate Among The Nation’s Highest

Illinois had the nation’s fourth highest African-American jobless rate during the second quarter of 2015, shows a recent analysis of unemployment numbers. Progress Illinois takes a closer look at the data provided by the Economic Policy Institute.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:34pm
Mon Aug 31, 2015

Analysis: Chicago’s TIF Program Had $1.4 Billion In Unspent Funds At Start Of 2015

A recent review of city documents shows Chicago’s 150 tax increment financing districts had over $1.4 billion sitting in their collective bank accounts at the start of 2015. The review, by the TIF Illumination Project, comes as the cash-strapped city faces large budget and pension issues.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:29pm
Tue Jul 14, 2015

Chicago TIF Revenue Drops 12 Percent, Seven Districts Slated For Early Termination

The seven downtown Chicago tax increment financing (TIF) districts that Mayor Rahm Emanuel plans to phase out have together collected $869 million in revenue since their inception, according to figures provided by Cook County Clerk David Orr.

Just in the last year, the seven TIF districts had combined revenues of $93 million.

Those numbers were contained in Orr’s 2014 TIF report released Monday, the same day news broke that the city will be shutting down seven downtown TIF districts after current project balances have been paid in full. As part of Emanuel’s TIF changes — which were announced as both the city and school district grapple with large pension and budgetary issues — no new spending in the seven TIF districts will occur.

The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is expected to get $125 million in revenue over five years under the plan to shutter the TIF districts, and the city will receive $50 million. Other funds will be set aside for “emergency infrastructure projects.”

“Chicago and the mayor are moving in the right direction by freezing new spending at some downtown TIFs and dissolving those TIFs when current projects have ended,” Orr said in a press release. “Still, such scrubbing is overdue and it could certainly include more than seven of 148 TIFs.”

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:45pm
Tue Jun 16, 2015

South Side Group Launches Campaign Around Obama Library Community Benefits Agreement

With the Obama presidential library set to come to either Jackson or Washington parks in Chicago, a South Side group is seeking help in crafting a proposed community benefits agreement (CBA) to ensure local residents and businesses are not displaced by the possible gentrification that could come with the project.

The Bronzeville Regional Collective, comprised of South Side organizations and community development advocates, has created a seven-point CBA blueprint for the Obama library development.

“We don’t want to see the South Side become what Lincoln Park was in the ’60s and ’70s,” said Bronzeville Regional Collective member Anton Seals Jr., who is also on the South Shore Planning and Preservation Coalition’s board.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
5:18pm
Thu Apr 16, 2015

Report: Illinois Black Unemployment Rate Expected To Fall In 2015, But Still At ‘Crisis Level’

Research from the Economic Policy Institute shows Illinois is one of only two U.S. states expected to see “significant reductions” in African-American unemployment levels throughout 2015. Still, African-American jobless rates in Illinois and nationwide are still far higher than where they should be, EPI’s report argues.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:11pm
Mon Apr 13, 2015

Despite Initial Surge, Local & Federal Policies Tamp Out Renewable Energy Growth In Illinois

A recent report by the Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC) shows that over 400 Illinois companies are now tapped into the state’s clean energy supply chain for solar and wind projects.

The local solar industry supply chain includes 237 Illinois companies, including those providing installation, electrical and consulting services. The other 170 Illinois companies are working in the state’s wind industry supply chain, comprised of manufacturers and diagnostic software designers as well as engineering, legal, financial and consulting firms. Collectively, the 400 plus Illinois wind and solar companies employ more than 20,000 workers, according to the report.

By comparison, there were 152 wind and 96 solar companies tied to the Illinois clean energy supply chain in 2011, according to a previous ELPC analysis.

“When a wind turbine goes up in rural Illinois, it doesn’t sprout from the ground,” said ELPC’s Executive Director Howard Learner. “Every piece of that turbine and that wind machine … (is) manufactured by skilled laborers and manufacturing workers” at firms located in Cicero, Elgin and Rockford, to name a few places.

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