New questions are surfacing about Chicago’s implementation of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) agreements.
An examination by Joseph Ferguson, the city’s Inspector General, claims that $3.7 million in cash contributions was funneled to selected non-profits from private concerns that were beneficiaries of TIF redevelopment deals. The IG report says that $915,000 was funneled to After School Matters, a non-profit founded by former Chicago First Lady Maggie Daley, the wife of ex Mayor Richard M. Daley.
Today, members of the BGA discussed the IG’s report and TIFs on radio and TV broadcasts.
The Inspector General says his report reveals there was a “lack of transparency and accountability in the City’s process of choosing specific non-profit organizations.” It adds that city officials did not have a system for supporting non-profits and instead determined arbitrarily which charities or groups would benefit from TIF-related contributions.
The fact that After School Matters was recipient of 59 percent of the available funds between 2000 and 2009 “undermines public confidence in whether the TIF process is being used appropriately,” according to the IG report.
This is the latest in a series of questions and concerns surrounding the implementation of Chicago-based TIFs. The districts are under fire from some community groups and leaders who are concerned that TIFs are being misused or abused and end up draining needed resources or tax receipts from neighborhood schools and projects.
Recently, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that his administration is exploring a number of TIF reforms.
To learn more about Tax Increment Financing (TIF) agreements, consult these infographics: