Harold Washington Library Center
400 S. State
Last year the City Council passed the TIF Sunshine Ordinance, which requires the city to post all kinds of documentation about its tax increment financing program online—yet the city’s only complied in piecemeal fashion, and it’s very difficult, even for experts, to get on the city’s Web site and figure out what’s being done with the $500 million in tax money siphoned off into the program every year. Far more useful is the Municipal Reference Collection at the Harold Washington Library downtown—in fact, it’s the only place I know of where TIF geeks can readily get hard copies of TIF annual reports, eligibility studies, and, best of all, transcripts of Community Development Commission meetings where TIF districts and projects are approved. Believe me, it’s illuminating reading: those old transcripts tell you what Daley administration officials promised to do with the TIFs. Then you can cross-reference them with the annual reports to see what they actually did. The collection also includes other important government records, including past budgets for the city, schools, and parks. And the staff couldn’t be more helpful. Just tell ’em I sent you.
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