New TIF Video Lays Out the Issues

This is from WBEZ so is Chicago-centric; nevertheless it’s a useful way to look at Tax Increment Financing districts and features three TIF experts.

Bonus: Ben Joravsky’s latest, a look at the DePaul Basketball Boondoggle.

The mayor says it will cost at least $55 million to buy land for [a hotel] project and the money will come from the tax increment financing program, intended to eradicate blight in poor neighborhoods.

This block is as close to blight as you’ll find around this neighborhood. The buildings across the street look like they could use a coat or two of paint, and a few windows are boarded up.

In its promotional material for the project, the city depicts this area as a slum. What the city doesn’t show you is that just down the street to the east and south are dozens of high-rises and townhouses that have been built over the last ten or so years—without any TIF handouts.

The rules of “blight” and “but for” are anything they say it is, whether you’re talking Chicago or DeKalb. TIF requires reform. Or our governments do. Or both.