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TIF transparency

The Department of Planning postponed a presentation of the annual report for the Chicago-Central Park TIF, so TIF critic Mike Quigley will fill in at a Blocks Together meeting on Thursday night.

County Commissioner Quigley has been a proponent of TIF transparency, proposing legislation to require property tax bills to itemize TIF taxes as a separate category. Similar legislation was proposed in Springfield earlier this year by State Rep. John Fritchey.

Blocks Together is educating members about TIFs in preparation for an effort to win a community advisory board for the Chicago-Central Park TIF, said Carolina Gaete.

“There are a lot of concerns,” she said. “There’s a lack of transparency and accountability. There’s a need for community participation to assure direct benefits for residents.”

TIFs cut into funds available for schools — while allowing the city to funnel money to selective enrollment schools, Gaete said. “They took money from our TIF for Westinghouse (Achievement Academy), which is outside the (TIF) district. And a lot of our people won’t be able to go, because it’s selective enrollment.”

She notes that while other school districts have fought to hold the line on TIFs, Chicago’s appointed board of education has raised no objections.

Blocks Together is working with community groups in North Lawndale, Pilsen, Little Village (where a new TIF is in the works) and Bronzeville to prepare for a push for TIF reform, she said.

The Blocks Together meeting is Thursday, July 10, 6 to 8 p.m. at Mount Vernon Church, 3555 W. Huron.



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