In "TIF Now, Ask Questions Later," [March 2] Ben Joravsky makes a misleading statement about tax increment financing. He writes of the proposed Addison South TIF: "Like all TIFs, it raises property taxes, no matter what the city insists to the contrary. A TIF freezes the amount of property taxes the schools, the parks, the county, and other taxing bodies receive for a term of 23 years. So if a property in the Addison South TIF generates $100 in property taxes for the schools and parks when the TIF is created, that's all the schools and parks will be getting until 2030."
TIFs are only allowed to exist for a maximum of 23 years, not a guaranteed 23 years. I know of many examples in the state of Illinois where TIFs were retired before even half their potential life spans had passed.
So, while it may be that schools and parks are stuck with what they're getting for the next 23, it isn't the certainty Mr. Joravsky makes it out to be.
It's a small distinction but, I believe, an important one.
Ben Joravsky replies:
It's true that TIFs elsewhere have been retired before the 23-year end point. In Chicago it's never happened.