image_13585401171741358540118The Tax Integrity and Fairness Alliance (TIFa) will hold a Town Meeting on the issue of TIF districts on Tuesday, February 12, from 7 to 9 pm, at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division, Chicago. TIFa is an open group dedicated to exposing and changing TIFs to help return public control to taxes and the budget.

TIFs were originally created to keep tax money within a “blighted” district and use it to redevelop that area. But since the introduction of TIF districts in Chicago in 1986, about half of the $4.5 billion extracted from general tax funds has gone to private development projects, many of them far from blighted communities. Major corporations receiving TIF funds include Hyatt, Target, Coca Cola, and United Airlines. That comes at the expense of Chicago Public Schools, libraries, parks, and other public assets.

In 2011 Chicago’s TIF program extracted $454 million in property taxes from 163 TIF districts. Thirty percent of the city is in a TIF district.

“Last year, TIFs took about $250 million from CPS,” says Steve Serikaku, retired CPS teacher and activist. “That could have covered the costs of the new contract several times over. It could pay for more teachers, social workers, clinicians, and others who directly help children.”

The Town Meeting will feature award-winning political reporter Ben Joravsky and other speakers who will shed light on the opaque, clout-driven TIF program. Workshops will help attendees learn how to regain control over their tax money.

“It’s time for Chicagoans to get smart and take action,” says Tom Tresser, co-founder of CivicLab, which is conducting an in-depth investigation of TIFs. Tresser is also a featured speaker at the meeting, and will present detailed findings of the impacts of the 12 TIFs in the 27th Ward.

The third presenter is Professor Richard Dye of the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs. Professor Dye has done extensive research and writing on local government finance programs, including TIFs.

The founding organizations of TIFa include Chicago Gray Panthers, Chicago Teachers Solidarity Campaign, CivicLab, and Progressive Democrats of America-Illinois.

CONTACT: DAVID ORLIKOFFTax Integrity & Fairness Alliance
Phone = 773-882-7272

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About 900poundgorilla

W.C. Turck is a Chicago playwright and the author of four widely acclaimed books.His latest is "The Last Man," a prophetic novel of a world ruled by a single corporation. His first novel, "Broken: One Soldier's Unexpected Journey Home," was reccommended by the National Association of Mental Health Institutes. His 2009 Memoir, "Everything for Love" chronicled the genocide in Bosnia and the siege of Sarajevo. His third book "Burn Down the Sky" is published exclusively on Amazon Kindle. It was in Sarajevo at the height of the siege where he met and married his wife, writer and Artist Ana Turck. FOX NEWS, ABC, CBS News, the Chicago Tribune and The Joliet Herald covered their reunion after the war. He helped organized relief into Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. Turck has been a guest on WMAQ-TV, WLS in Chicago, WCPT, WBBM radio, National Public Radio, Best Of the Left and the Thom Hartmann show. He has spoken frequently on Human Rights, Genocide and Nationalism. In 2011, his play in support of the Occupy Movement, "Occupy My Heart-a revolutionary Christmas Carol" recieved national media attention and filled theaters to capacity across Chicago. He remains an activist to the cause of human rights and international peace. View all posts by 900poundgorilla

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