by Whet Moser
Do read the cover story this week: my colleagues Mick Dumke and Ben Joravsky did a remarkable job breaking down how TIF money is spent, ward by ward, for the first time. Or, if it makes more sense in pictures, Sam Adams did a photographic tour of where not much of your TIF money goes.
Or, to immodestly quote myself summarizing why the widespread use of TIF districts drives economic inequality:
If TIFs work as intended, the "extra" tax revenue is driven back into that specific neighborhood. Therefore neighborhoods that will "naturally" generate more tax revenue (and the natural increase can be related to TIF-funded development, but also Alan Greenspan, AIG, and the price of tea in China) will siphon off more money from the city tax base than the more blighted neighborhoods that the program is theoretically intended for. Thus, in some ways, the system works in reverse - the money pools in districts with more and/or more valuable properties.