Friday, April 6, 2007

The City of TIFs

I was searching the city of Chicago’s website for something specific (local farmer's markets), and I came across this map, which struck me as very funny. The link to this map states, “Tax Increment Financing is a special funding tool used by the City of Chicago to promote private investment in blighted sections of the city. Please click on the link above to display a map showing the TIF Districts in the City of Chicago.”

I don’t think it’s possible to be more officially vague. If I had a superficial question about TIFs, this map certainly wouldn’t answer it. In fact, it just forces me to ask other, serious questions (i.e., Is one-third to one-half of Chicago really "blighted?")


Johnny Yen said...

Looking at the map, there are TIF's in areas that are most certainly not blighted-- can you call any area of the northwest side "blighted?"

I've been curious about these things too, and have never understood them.

Kathy said...

I don't think we're supposed to understand them.

I had another reason for posting about TIFs. I was reading an article about Taft High School needing more money (more than parents could possible fundraise) to buy books for its exploding population. In the story a CPS official suggested getting money from TIFs. Taft, however, sits outside a TIF district.

But it made me wonder how much money CPS is actually getting from TIFs, and if it's even possible to find out.

Johnny Yen said...

I think that's been one of the criticisms-- that the money is not there in the end.

I keep thinking about the lottery. The main selling point, for a lot of the people, was that it was supposed to fund schools. Whatever happened to that.