Thursday, November 15, 2007

(Half) Billion Dollar Baby

In still another milestone in the city's growing TIF scandal, Crain's Chicago Business reported today that Cook County Clerk David Orr estimates that for the new tax year, the amount of money diverted into Chicago's TIF districts will cross the half-billion dollar mark, to $500.4 million, 29% more than just the year before, and triple the amount diverted just five years ago. At this rate, the amount of money diverted into TIF's may soon eclipse undiverted revenues - $820 million in 2008.

Even as TIF diversions were set to rise by $114,000,000, the Chicago City Council on Tuesday passed , by a vote of 29 to 21, the Daley's administration $86 million property tax increase, part of over a quarter billion dollars of increases in taxes, fees and fines.

With the mayor chortling appreciatively from the podium, 29th ward alderman Issac Carothers praised himself and his colleagues for being supine pushovers for Daley's unprecedented increases. "Thank God for the folks in this council who did the heavy lifting for you. Thank God."

"Heavy lifting" and "alderman" is, of course, an oxymoron, as the only energy usually expended by an alderman is the expulsion of hot air. The real heavy lifting will come from Chicago residents, including the city's poor, out of whose pockets the $270 million will be picked, even as TIF's funnel increasingly large bundles of money to increasingly questionable projects, ($40 million to the Chicago Board of Trade, $58 to the developer of an ill-conceived addition to Union Station, etc.).

So why are the mayor and his captive aldermen laughing? Because they know by the next time they're up for election, in 2011, you'll have forgotten all about it.

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