Chicago’s Mayor Richard M. Daley recently added insult to injury by awarding additional funds in a relocation deal for United Airlines. Daley gave another $10 million in subsidies –on top of the $25.9 million in TIF monies we previously reported– bringing the total two-year subsidy from the city of Chicago to United Airline’s parent company to $50 million. Politicians often claim that TIF and other development subsidies cannot distress budgets. If this were true, why are crucial city services being cut concurrent to lavish subsidies being given?
When tax base is diverted, other city services must be paid for either by raising new taxes or reducing existing services. Chicago Public Schools just passed a draconian budget that slashes teacher benefits. Experts point out that TIF has skimmed at least $500 million away from school tax revenues. Listen to neighborhood residents speak out against TIF diversion.
What is the result of these perennial budget issues linked to TIF diversion? This September students started school without teachers in neighborhoods with significant achievement gaps. Three weeks into the school year, students still lacked permanent teachers. At the same time, however, the city of Chicago had no qualms about giving a private interest another $10 million.