Medill (that is Northwestern’s journalism school) student Adam Verwymeren created a satirical description of TIFs in language so easy a five-year-old, a caveman, or a politician can understand, called: TIFs for Tots.
When you are done with the online children’s book, try Ben Joravsky’s TIFs for Dummies. Do not miss this key section:
“Think about this. If the schools, parks, and county can only get $100 from a TIF district, what do they do when their expenses go up to $200? They have to raise their levies—the amounts they each get from the property tax pie—to compensate for the money diverted to the TIFs. When they do that, property taxes go up. No matter what the city tells you, TIFs are tax hikes, plain and simple—the more you create, the higher taxes go.”
More resources on TIFs:
Open Illinois on TIFs–Links to a policy brief
Illinois Tax Increment Association–These folks are gungho on TIFs
Illinois Comptroller’s Office with links to annual reports–Follow the instructions to find DeKalb
Fix Wilson Yard–Chicago residents fight back