Mayor Rahm Emanuel today received a report from the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Reform Task Force, and called for immediate, substantive reforms to increase transparency, establish accountability and ensure taxpayer dollars are spent in accordance with a new long-term strategic economic development plan.
“I believe TIF is an essential tool to help create jobs and economic growth for the City and its residents and we must ensure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and on projects that contribute to our long-term economic development goals and job creation,” said Mayor Emanuel. “I commend the members of the Task Force for their strong, comprehensive analysis of the TIF program.”
Over the course of 100 days, the Task Force conducted over 40 interviews with experts across the country and received hundreds of ideas from the people of Chicago through a TIF Reform website and at a public hearing earlier this summer. The 100-page report submitted to the Mayor today recommends reforms to ensure efficiency, transparency and accountability.
“The recommendations of the committee reflect three months of careful consideration of this very complicated and important financing tool,” said Carole Brown, who chaired the TIF Task Force. “We are pleased to present the Mayor with these recommendations and commend him on his swift action.”
For efficiency, the panel recommends that the Mayor’s Office work with community stakeholders and the City Council to develop a multi-year economic development plan, which will guide the development of TIF districts and projects. Additionally, the report called for the coordination of TIF with the city’s multi-year capital budget, and encouraged projects to be selected in accordance with these goals.
Mayor Emanuel has tasked World Business Chicago and his Economic Council with crafting a long-term economic development plan in collaboration with the City Council, private sector, and non-profit leaders.
To establish needed transparency and accountability, the TIF Task Force recommends the City establish strict performance metrics and subject all TIF projects to a thorough justification process. Further, the panel called for the City to take swift action, including the potential revocation of TIF funds, in cases where private developers do not meet their obligations in a TIF project. To ensure oversight of TIF, the Task Force also called for the creation of an internal TIF oversight board.
Mayor Emanuel tasked his office with implementing these reforms immediately.
The members of the TIF Task Force are:
Chicago contains 163 TIF districts, which cover 30 percent of the city’s area and generate roughly $500 million in incremental tax revenue each year. The TIF Task Force Report is available here.