TIFs for tots | Bleader

TIFs for tots

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Folks in City Hall have been e-mailing around TIFs for Tots, a devilish satire penned by Adam Verwymeren, a journalism student at Medill.

The primer manages to explain TIFs in language that just about anyone -- even your average alderman or City Hall reporter -- can understand.

Why is the City Hall crowd getting such a kick out of it? Partly because TIFs have always been an inside joke to planners, lawyers, and developers who still can't believe that so many adults remain clueless about the mayor's $500-million-a-year slush fund.

I give Verwymeren an A for his primer. It's accurate, clearly written, easy to understand, funny, and to the point. My favorite part is where he writes, "Some people say TIFs are like a big piggy bank for the mayor to use for whatever he wants. And these people say we can't trust the mayor."

In other words, "TIFs for Tots" is the opposite of the city's own primer -- The ABCs of TIFs [PDF} -- which is misleading, obtuse, and riddled with errors.

Verwymeren's a pretty smart guy. The city should hire him. But they wouldn't think of it. He's too honest.  

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