This past weekend, at the beautiful Alhambra Palace on West Randolph, the Chicago Defender found out that the city of Chicago really isn’t broke. The money, according to Civic Educator and self-proclaimed Public Defender Tom Tresser, is being hidden in “off the books slush funds” a.k.a. Tax Increment Financing or TIFs.
Tresser, the co-founder of the prolific CivicLab, a not-for-profit that educates Chicagoans about the true nature of TIFs and how they were sold to the public as vehicles to revive blighted areas of the inner-city, but in reality were used to fund wealthy downtown developers.
For two years, CivicLab traversed the city – going ward by ward – showing Chicagoans how much of their property tax dollars has been stolen from them via the TIF districts, and ultimately, who got the money. Along the way, CivicLab started a movement that attracted the attention of other like-minded individuals from economist to business leaders to tax reformist and local experts who not only believe, but also have proof that Chicago is not broke.
Collectively, they have put out a book appropriately titled ‘Chicago Is Not Broke, Funding The City We Deserve’ where each subject matter expert lays out their argument in a collection of short articles on how to save and generate major revenues for Chicago. “We are talking about BILLIONS of dollars,” they allege.
The Chicago Defender is working on this developing story and will introduce you to some of the experts such as:
Hilary Denk – Co-Chair, Issues Committee of the Board of the League of Women Voters Illinois Amara Enyia – PhD, former candidate for mayor, Principal of ACE Municipal Partners Ron Baiman – Economist, Benedictine University Bill Barclay – College of Business, University of Illinois, Chicago
For more information on the book, complete listing of the authors and their topics, click here: http://www.wearenotbroke.org/#sthash.QN18aTrj.b03V7YwB.dpbs
Stay tuned, and hear what Tom Tresser has to say.