Chicago’s TIF Welfare Queens

Speaking of getting played:

The property tax you pay is basically determined by multiplying the tax rate by your property’s value. If your property’s value is $100,000 and the tax rate is 10 percent, then you pay $10,000 in property taxes.

In a TIF district, a portion of the property taxes is diverted to bank accounts controlled by the mayor. He’s supposed to use that money to generate development in blighted, low-income communities.

But the law’s so riddled with loopholes that he’s pretty much free to spend it wherever he pleases. Which is why he gets to spend at least $55 millionon a hotel for Marriott in a gentrifying South Loop neighborhood.

Generate development by paying a gazillion dollar corporation to … make more money. I would get a TIF district that gave funds to, say, genuine small businesses or infrastructure improvements needed to make large-scale development happen, but too often this nonsense ends up subsidizing major corporations that could afford to pay for such improvements themselves.

It’s absurd to pay a business to make money where it’s going to make money anyway. Making money is what they do. A hotel is not a nonprofit organization. A hotel company doesn’t seek to site a new building where there’s no cash to be found. Yes, these things create jobs, and that’s valuable, but for fuck’s sake, let’s stop acting like the jobs are why the company’s there. They’re there because stacks of money are there.

It’s absurd to continue having idiot conversations about pension “reform” and how “broke” municipalities are, too:

Remember, the mayor says he’s cutting benefits for geezers cause Chicago’s dead broke and he wants to limit the burden on beleaguered taxpayers.

Who are still getting a little more beleaguered.

But, as I like to point out, there’s “broke” as in “We gotta make some retired Water Department clerk live on less” and broke as in “Ah, what the hell—might as well add a little more slush to the pile.


2 thoughts on “Chicago’s TIF Welfare Queens

  1. IF Chicago — or Wisconsin, where Walker’s said much the same — was really broke, you can bet Rahm and Scott would never have run for the respective offices in the first place. They’re politicians. That’s what they do. Fat guys eat doughnuts, politicians spend money. Fish swim, birds fly…

Comments are closed.