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We Might Take Your House

Ben Joravsky 29 February 2008 No Comment

February 19 was a busy day at City Hall, as city officials gave the Daley administration the OK to jack up property taxes by untold hundreds of millions of dollars, virtually handed the mayor those millions to spend as he pleases, and threatened to kick a bunch of seniors out of their west-side homes.

The action was at the monthly meeting of the Community Development Commission, the mayorally appointed advisory group of lawyers, developers, city department heads and other Daley allies in charge of forking over TIF dollars. As you should know by now, TIFs place a cap on the amount of property taxes that go to the city, schools, parks, and other taxing bodies, diverting additional revenue ostensibly to fund development in districts deemed “blighted.” At this particular session the CDC recommended that the City Council approve the proposed Ogden/Pulaski tax increment financing district, which would encompass parts of North and South Lawndale. On its face, this particular TIF might seem to make sense: unlike the many TIFs in gentrifying or affluent areas, this one’s at least intended to help a struggling community. But at what cost to the residents?

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