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Mayor Announces Reforms to TIF Process

Announcement comes hours before three companies give $34 million refund to taxpayers

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After a study and recommendations, Mayor Rahm Emanuel outlines changes to rein in TIF spending and hold developers accountable.

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Chicago taxpayers are getting a big refund -- $34 million worth -- of Tax Increment Financing from three companies, two of which didn't achieve job creation goals outlined in the subsidies.

The largest, from CME Group, hadn't yet been awarded the $15 million it had been promised but "will not be accepting" the subsidy, according to several published reports.

Insurance giant CNA Group will also be giving back $13.7 million and Bank of America is returning $5.4 million. Both companies fell short of the 2,700 or so jobs each was required to keep in exchange for the tax breaks, which helped them make building renovations, the Chicago Tribune reported, citing officials in Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration.

The trio of announcements came hours after Emanuel announced a "new day and a new regime" in the way TIFs are doled out and audited.

City Hall will create a website to centrally outline all TIF districts and their goals. That information will be visible to taxpayers and aldermen. Independent auditors will hired to make sure developers are meeting the goals outlined in the TIF process. Those that don't face "enforcement," said Emanuel.

"It is a contract, and therefore we need all the aspects of enforcement, transparency and accountability on that contract because we represent the city's taxpayers, and they need fair value for their investment in this project," he said at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Wicker Park, the site of Resurrection University’s new nursing center.

The website should launch later this year.

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Related Topics Rahm Emanuel, TIF Reform
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