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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
2:30pm
Wed Nov 19, 2014

Chicago City Council Passes Emanuel’s 2015 Budget; Four Aldermen Object

The Chicago City Council voted 46-4 to approve Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s 2015 budget. Progress Illinois provides highlights from the council debate on the $7.3 billion spending plan.

Quick Hit
by La Risa Lynch
7:58pm
Wed Nov 5, 2014

Chicago West Side Voters React to Quinn’s Gubernatorial Loss

Support for Gov. Quinn seemed strong among black voters in Chicago’s Austin community on Tuesday, but that didn’t translate into a win for the incumbent who was seeking his second full-term in office.

Quinn lost his re-election bid to Republican challenger Bruce Rauner, who dumped $27 million of his own money into his campaign war chest. 

Rauner and his running mate Evelyn Sanguinetti garnered 1,742,403 or 50.6 percent of the vote versus Quinn’s 1,585,332 or 46 percent of the votes.

An early Rauner supporter, Rev. Marshall Hatch said he was not surprised by the election results. Hatch said Quinn’s low approval rating signaled a pending change. Quinn, he added, made a major misstep by selecting Paul Vallas as his running mate as opposed to former city treasurer Stephanie Neely. That move, Hatch said, showed Quinn took the black community for granted.

“I think Quinn left the Republicans a major opening,” said Hatch, pastor of New Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church in West Garfield Park.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:51pm
Wed Oct 15, 2014

Emanuel Delivers 2015 Budget Address; Fioretti Slams Mayor For ‘Election Year Fluff’

Progress Illinois takes a look at Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposed 2015 budget, which was unveiled on Wednesday. 

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
5:31pm
Wed Oct 8, 2014

Chicago Aldermen Approve IG Measure, Washington Park TIF; Elected School Board Referendum Gets Squeezed

Progress Illinois provides highlights from Wednesday's Chicago City Council meeting.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:44pm
Fri Sep 26, 2014

South Siders Question TIF Use In Chicago’s 21st Ward

South Side residents were shocked to learn at a Thursday night community meeting that the six active tax increment financing (TIF) districts in Chicago’s 21st Ward had more than $1.6 million sitting in their collective bank accounts at the end of 2013.

The Chicago-based CivicLab revealed that TIF finding and relevant information at a meeting held at the Carter G. Woodson Regional Library in Roseland.

The $1.6 million in unspent funds would have otherwise been dispersed among the local units of government that rely on property tax revenue, including the school and park districts, were it not for the city’s controversial TIF program, which is intended to spur economic development in “blighted” areas.

The non-profit CivicLab launched its TIF Illumination Project, which highlights how the city’s TIF program works at the ward level, back in February 2013. The group has held 30 community TIF meetings thus far

Many South Siders at the meeting said they were unaware of the private projects that got TIF money in the 21st Ward, including a Home Depot and the Chatham Market shopping center that received a $32 million TIF subsidy. 

“I think a lot of people have been getting a raw deal,” Leatha Patton, a 21st Ward resident of more than 42 years, told Progress Illinois after the event. “These are things that the alderman should make you aware of. We should know how it works, and who gets what.”

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
11:52am
Thu Aug 28, 2014

Southwest Side Chicagoans Question TIF Use In 23rd Ward (UPDATED)

Residents of Chicago’s 23rd Ward raised concerns about the city’s tax increment financing (TIF) program after learning Wednesday evening that millions in economic development funds have yet to be spent in their community.

At the CivicLab’s TIF town hall meeting at John F. Kennedy High School, Southwest Side community members learned that the six TIF districts located in the 23rd Ward had about $16.6 million sitting in their collective bank accounts at the end of 2013. Last year alone, the ward’s TIF districts collected nearly $2.3 million in property tax revenue, according to the CivicLab’s analysis.

Business owner and Southwest Side resident Martin Arteaga, who is running for alderman in the 23rd Ward, attended the meeting.

“There needs to be a lot more clarity and transparency as to where this TIF money is going,” he told Progress Illinois. “Here in the 23rd Ward, particularly in the Midway Airport area along Cicero Avenue, you have a bunch of empty lots. We could use some of that money to redevelop that area and actually be able to expand our tax base, because we have thousands of people who pass through going to Midway Airport.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
10:52am
Thu Aug 21, 2014

CivicLab To Emanuel: ‘Come Clean’ About $1.7 Billion In Unspent TIF Funds

Volunteers with Chicago’s CivicLab want a full accounting of the more than $1.7 billion that was sitting in the city’s collective tax increment financing (TIF) district bank accounts at the end of 2013.

Tom Tresser, co-founder of the CivicLab and leader of its volunteer-based TIF Illumination Project, said the group plans to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the city within the week to “demand the mayor to come clean” about how those unspent funds will be used. Tresser said the group is prepared to take legal action if the city denies the FOIA request.

We asked for (similar information) last year, and they told us to go take a leap,” Tresser said at a TIF discussion Wednesday evening at the CivicLab, 114 N. Aberdeen St. “This time, we’re going to sue if we don’t get it.”

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
9:32am
Mon Aug 18, 2014

Chicagoans Raise Concerns Over Proposed Washington Park TIF District

Chicago's Community Development Commission advanced a controversial plan to the city council last Tuesday that would create a new tax increment financing district in the economically struggling Washington Park neighborhood on the South Side, despite opposition from some local residents. Progress Illinois takes a closer look at the issue.

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.

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