Manny and Scott Take on the TIFS

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The last time any local governmental body contemplated serious tax increment financing reform was back in 2006.

In that case, Cook County commissioner Mike Quigley advanced the absolutely revolutionary idea of printing the TIF take [PDF] on property tax bills, arguing that we should know exactly we're paying for as opposed to the lies that the tax bills advance.

Mayor Daley responded by dispatching a gaggle of aldermen, aides, and other flunkies to assure county  commissioners that the public would be better off dumb. I think the exact argument was that the extra information would just confuse people.

Quigley's bill was buried. But don't feel sorry for him--like Barack Obama, he realized no reforming was going to be done in Chicago so you might as well get out. Come April 7, he'll probably be the new congressman of the Fifth Congressional District. Lucky him.

In the meantime, a couple of other local pols have decided to take on the TIF monster. Aldermen Scott Waguespack and Manny Flores are calling for TIF reform, and they're starting by sponsoring an ordinance [PDF] that would require the city to post TIF-related contracts and agreements online. The idea is to let people see how the city is actually spending the property tax dollars our property bills fail to tell us the city's spending.

On Monday, the City Council's finance committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on their sunshine proposal.

Look for experts for the city to claim--with a straight face--that the techonology and manpower for posting the information doesn't exist or is just too costly.

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