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Dear Commissioner Mooney:
It's come to my attention that your department's looking to hire a "financial planning analyst" to help oversee the city's TIF program.
I'd like to throw my hat into the ring.
As you know, tax increment financing is the program where the mayor jacks up everyone's property taxes and uses the money to develop stuff in poor, blighted communities (wink, wink).
At the risk of sounding unduly immodest, I've become the world's foremost authority on TIFs, having studied these suckers for the better part of the last nine years.
In particular, my claim to fame is that I'm probably the only TIF expert in captivity who hasn't made any money off of this scam. So, basically I'm applying for this gig 'cause—I want mine, man!
For a recommendation, I suggest you call Mayor Emanuel. Once upon a time, he complimented me for my contributions to the public's knowledge of this program.
The conversation took place in early 2011, after Rahm—then a candidate for mayor—consented to a five-minute interview.
Had I played my cards right, I'd have talked him into giving me your job.
Instead, I talked him into getting pissed off and abruptly hanging up on me. Story of my life.
At least he didn't drop the F-bomb on me, which is what I hear he generally does when he hangs up on you folks in his cabinet.
In any case, the job's part of the mayor's "reform" where he pays someone good money to make sure there's no waste in the TIF program.
Which is a real howler, 'cause as near as I can tell one of the main purposes of the TIF program is to waste money by giving it to gazillionaires who don't need it.
Like the developers getting $29.5 million to build an upscale office building in River North, one of the richest neighborhoods in Chicago.
This is part of the mayor's larger strategy of taking money intended to help poor people and giving it to rich people in the hopes that the poor people get the message and leave town.
So the mayor can close more of their schools.
This particular job stems from a recommendation made by the TIF task force the mayor put together soon after he got elected.
The task force's job was to come up with some fluff that would enable the mayor to say he had reformed the TIF program without actually changing any of the stuff that needed reforming.
Let me tell you, they did a masterful job. All of the things that are wrong with TIFs still exist. Like the part where they take money from the poor and give it to the rich, and divert tens of millions each year from the dead-broke schools, and jack up property taxes while lying about it on the tax bills, etc.
On the other hand, they are hiring the aforementioned financial planning analyst.
So you might say it's like treating a patient's kidney ailment by cutting off his arm.
That'll teach him!
Having read the job announcement, I see that one important duty is to attend community meetings to tell the people how wonderful TIFs are. Presumably without cracking up.
There's one problem. The job announcement says I need at least a bachelor's degree in finance.
Alas, I'm an English major. Which won't come in handy unless your department has a book club.
That said, Mayor Emanuel was a dance major in college, and he's, well, mayor. So who's to say?
One last thing . . .
While a student at Evanston Township High School, I was a member of the White Sox fan club. (It's true—you can see me in the club's yearbook picture.)
I believe that makes me eminently qualified to recommend shoveling out TIF money to Jerry Reinsdorf should he ever get around to asking for another handout.