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From: The TIF Illumination Project

A review of the 2014 annual reports of the City’s 150 Tax Increment Financing Districts by volunteers with the TIF Illumination Project revealed some startling facts about local government finance:

The total fund balance at the end of 2014, that is, all property tax dollars sitting in TIF accounts was $1,442,450,590 (a decrease from the $1.71 billion left in TIF accounts from the year prior). The TIF Illumination Project has issued a Freedom of Information Act request to both the Department of Planning and Development and the Office of Budget and Management to secure definitive documentation on the status of these funds. The mayor’s office claims most of it to be “reserved for future development” or obligated to pay existing debt incurred by existing TIF projects.

A wide array of civic actors, including the Chicago Teachers Union, Raise Your Hand for Illinois Education, affordable housing advocates and organizing efforts such as the Grassroots Collaborative have called into question Chicago’s official budget pronouncements of red ink and service cuts. Citing the staggering amount of property taxes being held in TIF accounts, these groups, as well as the editorial boards of local newspapers, have called for a complete accounting of these funds.

Other findings of our analysis of Chicago’s TIF districts for 2014 include:

  • Total Property Tax Increment extraction for 2014 = $425,634,435 (an increase from 2013 of $26.1 million or 6.5%) This is the amount of property taxes extracted by Chicago’s TIF districts and diverted from local units of government that rely on property taxes for their operation. 56% of Chicago property taxes are SUPPOSED to go to the Chicago Public Schools.
  • 80 TIFs take at least 50% of property taxes collected inside their borders.  22 extract at least 90%. 4 will actually collect 100% (another 3 take 97% or more).
  • The Top Ten TIFs collected a total of $215.1 million in property taxes in 2014. These are the “champions” in terms of property tax extraction.  The Number One TIF = Near South, collected $56.5 million in 2014. This TIF was cancelled in 2014.
  • Total expenditures from Chicago’s TIFs in 2014 were $638.3 million. This represented an increase from 2013 of $265.4 million or 71%) This is how much all of Chicago’s TIF districts spent in 2014. The biggest spender was the Near South TIF with $102.3 million. $28 million will go to subsidize the development of the Marriot’s Hotel on the McCormick Place campus.  $53.2 million went to the Board of Education for the Jones College Prep High School. $11.6 million went to the CTA for construction of the new Cermak Road Green Line station.
  • Total revenues transferred INTO TIFs = $127.6 million. This was how much revenue was placed INTO TIF accounts from other TIFs.
  • Total “surplus” revenues from TIFs distributed to local government sources was $37.7 million. In total, $166.3 million of TIF funds were moved around the city.
  • The Top Ten TIFs in terms of fund balance were holding $555.2 million in property taxes on January 1, 2015. The TIF with the largest fund balance was the Canal/Congress TIF holding $66.3 million.
  • In 2014 these seven TIFs were terminated: 45th/Western, 95th/Stony Island, 134th St./Avenue K, Kostner Avenue, Near South, Roosevelt/Homan and West Pullman.
  • Chicago’s 31 expired or repealed TIFs have collected $2.02 billion in property taxes, including a staggering $986,767,890 from the Central Loop TIF which expired in 2008 and $694,223,201 from the Near South TIF which was cancelled in 2014.
  • Four new TIFs came online in 2014: 51st/Lake Park, 107th/Halsted, Foster/California and Washington Park. The Washington Park TIF was created despite studied and strenuous objections from residents in the community.
  • For the first time the TIF Illumination Project looked at the financing costs associated with Chicago’s TIF districts. In 2014 20 TIFs used property taxes to pay a total of $98,644,025 in finance charges to two banks. The Amalgamated Bank of Chicago was paid a total of $66,340,798 from 10 projects. Wells Fargo Bank was paid $32,303,227 from 10 projects.
  • The Department of Planning and Development extracted $8,822,046 for staffing costs from 91 TIFs. This might be called “skimming the skim.”

The most striking number was the finding that over $1.44 billion in property taxes was sitting in TIF accounts on January 1, 2015.

The Top Ten TIFs by property tax collection for 2014 were:

Name Amount
Near South (cancelled 2014) $56,491,273
Lawrence/Broadway $27,011,891
Canal/Congress $19,594,590
Chicago/Kingsbury $19,170,514
Kinzie $18,379,029
Near North $17,924,411
Central West $14,792,414
River South $14,398,092
LaSalle/Central $14,051,697
River West $13,250,612
$215,064,523

The Top Ten TIFs by fund balance in 2014 were:

Name Amount
Canal/Congress $66,278,297
Chicago/Kingsbury $64,467,326
Near North $64,075,780
Central West $57,003,957
Kinzie Conservation $56,348,066
Chicago/Central Park $56,017,958
Pilsen $50,843,157
LaSalle/Central $47,851,465
River South $46,209,185
Midwest $46,069,469
$555,164,660

The Top Ten TIFs by expenditures in 2014 were:

Name Amount
Near South (cancelled 2014) $102,323,934
24th/Michigan $53,804,217
Pilsen $38,892,290
Calumet/Cermak $34,526,030
Central West $26,269,802
North Branch North $25,690,543
Chicago/Central Park $22,728,872
Western Avenue South $16,853,637
River South $16,218,627
Goose Island $16,055,143
$353,363,095

The TIFs that collected NO property taxes in 2014 were:

Name
51st/Lake Park
67th/Wentworth
134th/Avenue K (Cancelled 2014)
Calumet River
Foster/California
Kostner Avenue (Cancelled 2014)
Lakeside Develop
Montrose/Clarendon
Pratt/Ridge
Washington Park
West Pullman (Cancelled 2014)

21 TIFs extracted 90% or more of property taxes in their boundaries in 2015:

TIF # TIF Year Created TIF takes at least 90% of property taxes
141 26th/King 2006 100%
002 41st/King 1995 95%
004 49th/St. Lawrence 1995 94%
124 67th/Cicero 2002 100%
138 69th/Ashland 2004 91%
010 126th/Torrence 1994 91%
067 Archer Courts 1999 98%
013 Bryn Mawr/Broadway 1996 97%
059 Calumet/Cermak 1998 98%
122 Drexel 2002 98%
106 Englewood Neighborhood 2001 91%
119 Lakefront 2002 100%
126 Madden/Wells 2002 99%
173 Montrose/Clarendon 2010 100%
031 Near South (cancelled 2014) 1991 91%
100 Ohio/Wabash 2000 96%
037 River South 1998 93%
104 River West 2001 90%
039 Roosevelt/Canal 1996 93%
068 Roosevelt/Union 2000 94%
085 Western Avenue South 2001 92%
[21 TIFs]

Hundreds of millions of property tax dollars continue to move around the city, from one TIF into another and are sometimes distributed to local units of government.

TIF $ From To Reason
TIF Amount TIF
Pilsen $8,222,456 Chicago Board of Ed Juarez High School improvements
North Branch South $10,000,000 Goose Island $8,000,000 went to UI labs; $2,000,000 went to
engineering phase of the Division Street, North Branch
Canal Bridge Reconstruction project.
River West $8,600,000 LaSalle/Central $6,600,000 (from contiguous River West) for: Central
Loop Bus Rapid Transit project. $2,000,000 (from
contiguous River West) for: Central Loop Bus Rapid
Transit project (structural repairs to Lake Street Bascule
Bridge).
Englewood Neighborhood $7,500,000 Englewood Mall Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives Inc., for pre-
development work for their development near 63rd
Street and Halsted Street.
24th/Michigan $4,115,000 River South Reimbursement for funding from 2013 for construction
of National Teachers Academy (2220 South Federal
Street)
Calumet/Cermak $3,000,000 Michigan/Cermak Cermak Road Green Line CTA station
Greater Southwest West $2,934,023 67th/Cicero Lighting and various park site improvements to
Madigan Field (4701 W. 67th Street)
Bronzeville $2,500,000 35th/State For redevelopment agreement with Park Boulevard IIB,
LLC for their development at 3633 South State St.
60th/Western $2,000,000 63rd/Ashland Chicago Park District for expansion of Lindblom Park
(6054 South Damen)
Devon/Western $1,699,498 Touhy/Western $497,659 to debt service of Phase I of the Modern
Schools Across Chicago Bonds, Series 2007;
$1,201, 929 for Phase II of Modern Schools
Roosevelt/Homan (Cancelled 2014) $1,062,798 Homan/Arthington Westside Village Phase VI Limited Partnership and
Foundation for Homan Square for their development
at 3601 W. Arthington
LaSalle/Central $632,000 Randolph/Wells Randolph Tower City Apartments, LLC for their
development at 188 W. Randolph St.
Bryn Mawr/Broadway $500,000 Hollywood/Sheridan Hollywood/Sheridan Small Business Improvement
Fund Program
119th/I-57 $353,381 105th/Vincennes Redevelopment agreement with MGM/TGI 105th
Street LLC
47th/Halsted $218,570 47th/Ashland Phase II Modern Schools Across Chicago Bonds,
Series 2010
West Pullman (Cancelled 2014) $97,500 119th/Halsted Return the unused portion of the 2013 transfer for
the cost of demolition of the City-owned structure
at 11914 South Peoria Ave.
River South 6,602,753 24th/Michigan $3,200,000 for intergovernmental agreement with
Public Building Commission for acquisition/construction
of Chinatown Branch Library (2101-15 S. Archer Ave.);
$3,402,753 for Michigan Ave. Streetscape (23rd-24th
Street).
Near South $17,300,000 24th/Michigan $8,425,000: National Teachers Academy (2200 S.
Federal St.); $5,875,000: Chinatown Branch Library;
$3,000,000: Cermak Road Green Line CTA station
Near South $28,000,000 Calumet Ave./Cermak Road Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority for second
convention center hotel in McCormick Place Campus
Midwest $1,761,498 Chicago/Central Park $1,564,567: Phase I of the Modern Schools Across
Chicago Bonds, Series 2007; $196,931: Phase II
Modern Schools Across Chicago Bonds, Series 2010
Kinzie Industrial Corridor $3,690,643 Chicago/Central Park $2,555,260: Phase I of the Modern Schools Across
Chicago Bonds, Series 2007; $1,135,383: Phase II
Modern Schools Across Chicago Bonds, Series 2010
Pulaski Corridor $670,284 Chicago/Central Park Phase I of the Modern Schools Across Chicago Bonds,
Series 2007
Northwest Industrial Corridor $950,116 Chicago/Central Park Phase I of the Modern Schools Across Chicago Bonds,
Series 2007
Lake Calumet $4,200,000 North Pullman Redevelopment agreement with Chicago Neighborhood
Initiatives, Inc., for their development near 111th/Ellis
Street
Roseland/Michigan $1,400,000 North Pullman Redevelopment agreement with Chicago
Neighborhood Initiatives, Inc., for their development
near 111th/Ellis Street
87th/Cottage Grove $1,688,175 71st/Stony Island Phase I of the Modern Schools Across Chicago Bonds,
Series 2007
Avalon Park/South Shore $529,562 71st/Stony Island Phase I of the Modern Schools Across Chicago Bonds,
Series 2007
Stony Island/Burnside $1,765,123 71st/Stony Island $1,413,459: Phase I of the Modern Schools Across
Chicago Bonds, Series 2007; $351,664: East 76th
Street resurfacing Project
Woodlawn $1,285,981 71st/Stony Island Phase I of the Modern Schools Across Chicago
Bonds, Series 2007
Midwest $1,516,587 Madison/Austin Phase I of the Modern Schools Across Chicago
Bonds, Series 2007
Northwest Industrial Corridor $2,490,489 Madison/Austin Phase I of the Modern Schools Across Chicago
Bonds, Series 2007
Madison/Austin $909,880 Harrison/Central Loretto Hospital for the rehabilitation of their facility
located at 645 South Central Avenue.
63rd/Pulaski $1,677,626 51st/Archer $1,148,060: Phase I of the Modern Schools Across
Chicago Bonds, Series 2007; $529,566: Phase II
Modern Schools Across Chicago Bonds, Series 2010
Midway Industrial $1,029,996 51st/Archer $986,230: Phase I of the Modern Schools Across
Chicago Bonds, Series 2007; $43,766: Phase II
Modern Schools Across Chicago Bonds, Series 2010
Belmont Central $2,049,049 Galewood/Armitage $294,221: Phase I of the Modern Schools Across
Chicago Bonds, Series 2007; $1,754,828: Phase II
Modern Schools Across Chicago Bonds, Series 2010
Northwest Industrial Corridor $255,883 Galewood/Armitage $168,141: Phase I of the Modern Schools Across
Chicago Bonds, Series 2007; $87,742: Phase II
Modern Schools Across Chicago Bonds, Series 2010
Western Ave. $749,328 Lincoln Ave. Phase I of the Modern Schools Across Chicago Bonds,
Series 2007
Western Ave. $700,000 Devon/Western West Ridge Nature Preserve
Woodlawn $250,000 West Woodlawn West Woodlawn Small Business Improvement
Fund Program
Total $126,685,743

Here are the TIFs that have been repealed or terminated.

TIF # TIF Started End Grand Total Extraction
T-003 43rd/Damen 8/3/1994 12/31/2008 $1,863,540
T-006 72nd/Cicero 11/17/1993 2012 $3,973,719
T-007 73rd/Kedzie 11/17/1993 2012 $511,947
T-008 95th Street/Stony Island 1991 2014 $16,644,244
T-012 Bloomingdale/Laramie 9/15/1993 12/31/2008 $1,411
T-014 Central Loop 6/20/1984 12/31/2008 $986,767,890
T-015 Chatham-Ridge 12/18/1986 12/31/2010 $25,679,863
T-016 Chinatown Basin 12/18/1986 12/31/2010 $29,859,789
T-017 Division-Hooker 7/10/1996 2012 $3,378,641
T-018 Division/North Branch 3/15/1991 2012 $4,275,520
T-019 Eastman/North Branch 10/7/1993 2012 $2,690,364
T-020 Edgewater 12/18/1986
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