Let the games begin | Bleader

Let the games begin

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Well, it didn't take long . . .

Roughly eighth months after Mayor Daley broke his promise not to spend any public money on the 2016 Olympics, he's proposing to spend untold millions buying Michael Reese Hospital so he can tear it down for the Olympic Village.

The mayor didn't tell reporters how he would fund the purchase of the 37-acre site, west of Lake Shore Drive between 26th and 31st streets. But give Crain's columnist Greg Hinz credit -- he figured it out. "The property," Hinz dryly noted in in his Wednesday account of Daley's proposal, "is included within the Bronzeville tax increment financing (TIF) district."

It's also next to the 47th and King TIF, the 40th and State TIF, the 41st and King TIF, the 35th and State TIF, and the 43rd and Cottage Grove TIF. State laws governing TIFs allow the city to "port" TIF funds -- that is, move TIF money from one district to an adjoining one. Including Bronzeville, these TIFS had about $19.3 million in their accounts as of last December.

Remember, TIFs are property tax dollars diverted from the schools and parks and county into slush funds controlled by the mayor. He could use them to rebuild the CTA, hire more teachers, or help offset the city's $196 deficit, which instead has him calling for a $300 million increase in property taxes and fees. Instead, he's pouring money into his pipe dream.

Enjoy the games, my friends. 

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