David Orr. Cut TIFs. Not pensions.


Cook County Clerk David Orr says we should place a moratorium on TIFS rather than cutting public employee pensions or raising working family’s property taxes.

A recent report, by the Washington-based group Good Jobs First, said that TIF funds surpass Chicago’s pension liabilities. The amount of money the city’s TIFs diverted in 2012 ($457 million) was more than its pension costs ($385.8 million) by $71.2 million.

“The Good Jobs First report reiterates what many knew – the city’s TIF coffers exceed its pension debt,” Orr said. “Perhaps as importantly, it points out the many inherent flaws in TIF accountability and reporting, and reaffirms my belief that there should be an exhaustive review of every TIF project and TIF dollar spent.”

In California, TIFs were siphoning off 12 percent of property tax revenue and when reform failed the financing tool was abolished altogether, according to the Good Jobs First report. In some California municipalities, the report said, “TIF had become a major budgetary item: as much as 25 percent of property taxes were going into TIF accounts.”

“California was sinking under the weight of TIFs, and Chicago could, too,” Orr said. “The California example underscores that the current TIF models in Illinois, which were developed in the 1970s, should be reformed to reflect the financial realities taxing districts face today.”

Orr urged city workers and retirees to do the math: “One, you pay more for a pension; two, your benefits are cut; three, you get a bigger tax bill. How many ways are you being asked to sacrifice?”

Read the entire statement here.

3 thoughts on “David Orr. Cut TIFs. Not pensions.

  1. David Orr was my professor many years ago. I always found him to be a fair and honest man. Unfortunately these are attributes lacking in Quinn and emanual

  2. CTU (and other unions and groups) should start by organizing boycotts of businesses which receive TIF funds in neighborhoods which are obviously unblighted. For example, call out Mariano’s grocery store for the $7 million TIF in Greektown and the 5.5 million TIF for the new Ravenswood store. Why take your business to a store whose operations are linked to cutting your pension and underfunding the schools?

  3. Also the health care stipend disappears adding thousands more to what CTU retirees already pay for care

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