|LaSalle Central TIF|
On July 11, the Department of Planning and Development presented a proposal for a new Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district to the Community Development Commission. This TIF area, the LaSalle Central Redevelopment Project, would have approximate east-west boundaries of Clark and Canal, a northern boundary at Randolph and encompass land south to Van Buren. Notable buildings included in the district are City Hall, the Sears Tower and the Board of Trade.
Tax Increment Financing is an economic development tool that generates funds for public and private redevelopment projects in areas deemed blighted. To achieve a TIF designation the area must meet certain criteria under state law such as code violations, inadequate facilities and dilapidation. The money generated for district improvements comes from property tax growth over a 23-year period. Finances that typically are funneled to other taxing jurisdictions such as school districts and local governments are steered towards public and private revitalization endeavors.
The LaSalle Central TIF is expected to produce nearly $550 million dollars in property tax revenues over its lifetime according to Mayor Daley. Currently the city plans to use the money to rehabilitate some of the historic buildings, encourage new development and increase public transportation options to commuters to reduce downtown congestion. Tax Increment Financing as an economic development tool is often criticized because much needed resources are diverted from government agencies and public school.
Planning Commissioner Lori Healy suggests the possibility that the funding could be used to build a new school or park to accommodate the recent increase in residences downtown. And as the name implies, LaSalle Street would be targeted for renovation and maintenance to strengthen the weakening center of the financial-services sector.
Chicago has more than 140 Tax Increment Financing districts. The guidelines for establishing a TIF are defined in the State's Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act. TIF's appear in the following sections of the Chicago Municipal Code:
- 3-92-070 Tax Increment Financing
- 2-44-090 Affordable Housing Commitment
- 2-76-255 Program, Applications, Administration and Closing Costs - Fees
- 2-124-030 Commission - Powers and Duties