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The [Thursday] Papers

"A new report released [Wednesday] found little tracking or enforcement of taxpayer subsidized private development projects that had promised job creation," the Illinois Public Interest Research Group says.

"The analysis by the watchdog group Illinois PIRG comes one year after Mayor Emanuel's Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Reform Panel released recommendations for how to fix the wasteful economic development program and underscores the need to implement reform to protect taxpayers.

The findings show that among projects that promised to create the most jobs, there are unacceptably low levels of tracking and enforcement:

* Between 2000 and 2010, the City of Chicago spent more than $380 million dollars to create 32,396 jobs through Tax Increment Financing projects, but only 16,948 of those jobs were accounted for;

* 15 out of 21 projects with jobs covenants did not report meeting their jobs goals on an annual basis;

* 6 of those projects, on which the City spent over $129 million dollars, have no record of periodic monitoring or job creation at all.

"Illinois PIRG is calling on the Mayor to implement his Reform Panel's recommendations that would create a standard set of metrics to track the progress and measure success of TIF projects and review performance regularly.

"Mayor Emanuel has showed us a year ago that he is committed to TIF reform by creating this Panel, and their proposed reforms would move the city in the right direction," said Hailey Witt, Field Director for Illinois PIRG. "But it's not enough to have these ideas on paper. The City Council should step up and pass an ordinance that the Task Force recommendations must be put in place."

Other findings:

* Out of 21 projects with some kind of jobs goal, 15 (71 percent) did not provide annual evidence that the jobs goals were being met, but the city asked only two of the projects to give money back.

* Not a single project complies with the 2009 "Sunshine Ordinance" that requires posting of five major documents online; most projects provide less than half.

* A significant number of projects (19 percent) did not even have specific job-creation goals in their official agreements with the city.

Rahm Emanuel preaches an awful lot about accountability, but is he willing to point the microscope at himself?

Chicago Code
It's a bit patronizing for Rahm to continue pounding the notion to poor black folk living in the most violent gang territory that "helping isn't snitching."

It might be easier to swallow if, again, Rahm followed his own advice. It wouldn't be snitching, for example, but helping if Rahm would let us in on the answers to questions like these:

* How exactly did it come to be that Don Tomczak's illegal patronage troops ended up working on your behalf in the 2002 congressional race that launched your elective career?

* Who hired Angelo Torres? It wasn't on your watch, but we still deserve to know.

* Transparency is not snitching. Why won't you comply with FOIA requests?

* Why do you refuse to mention Richard M. Daley's name when criticizing the mistakes of the past? It wouldn't be snitching, you know. Just helping.

Study Hall
"Though city dwellers may feel a little crowded as they watch 45,000 runners brave the annual Bank of America Chicago Marathon, the runners and their families and entourages last year boosted the city's economy by $219.7 million - the most in the event's history - by staying in local hotels, shopping and sightseeing, ordering pre-race pasta dinners and otherwise being tourists, according to a report to be issued Wednesday," the Sun-Times reports.

Right. That's about as believable as that now-discredited NATO economic impact study.

"The Chicago Sun-Times is a media sponsor of the marathon."

Oh.

GOP Convention Notebook 3
Illinois Ignominy.

Jimmy Chamberlin Does Drums
Listening is the key.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Don't snitch, just help.



Permalink

Posted on August 30, 2012


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