Expanded TIF report shows 16.6 percent jump in revenue

November 15, 2007
Press Release
Real Estate and Tax

Cook County Clerk David Orr on Thursday released the 2006 TIF revenue report, which shows the amount of money generated in 378 active TIF districts Chicago and the suburbs.

“For taxing bodies, TIFs have become the subject of controversy and debate,” Orr said. “Traditionally, my office has provided a highly technical report. This year, we’ve expanded the report and provided user-friendly tools to make the report more understandable to the public.”

Among the highlights from Orr’s report:

  • The total amount Cook County taxpayers are paying in TIF revenue now exceeds $800 million.
  • In the City of Chicago, TIF revenue increased by $114 million to $500,369,348. (29.46 percent increase)
  • In suburban Cook County, the amount of TIF revenue increased by $85,740 to $299,800,699. (.03 percent increase)
  • At $800 million, if TIFs were their own separate taxing agency, they would collect the second largest amount of revenue in Cook County. The Chicago Public Schools rank first with $1.7 billion.
  • Of the 1.7 million properties in Cook County, 159,500 properties – 9.4 percent – are located in TIF districts.

The report shows that in Chicago, 2006 revenue increased for most TIFs, due primarily to the reassessment which raised the incremental value.

To understand the magnitude of TIF revenue in Chicago:

  • Two Chicago TIFs alone are collecting more revenue ($152.5 million) this year than all the money Cook County spends from property taxes toward public health. The county’s public hospitals, clinics, and services total $144 million. The City of Chicago’s Central Loop TIF and South Loop TIF total $111 million and $41.5 million, respectively.
  • Since 1986, $2,510,745,038 (more than $2.5 billion) has been collected from all TIFs within the City of Chicago, which is not quite the whole lifespan of TIFs in Chicago.

In the suburbs:

  • The largest increase in the suburbs was in the village of Oak Lawn where TIF revenue increased by 6,102 percent – from $5,731 to $355,486 – for a commuter parking lot/station project.
  • The biggest drop in the suburbs occurred in the Village of Dixmoor, where TIF revenue fell by 88 percent – from $138,939 to $17,273 – for a project at 144th and Wood.

“Because so much tax revenue has been going to TIFs, they have become the subject of controversy and debate,” Orr said. “I believe much more information needs to be made available to the public to assist taxpayers in making their own judgments on TIFs.”

The Clerk’s office is providing easy-to-use tools on its web site – cookctyclerk.com – for the public beginning this week:

  • A four-part annual report, which includes a breakdown of TIF distribution by agency over the past two years.
  • An online TIF primer to help the public better understand the TIF process.
  • TIF District maps online (currently under construction). 

Orr’s goal for 2008 is for property tax bills to direct homeowners to visit cookctyclerk.com for more information on TIFs. Taxpayers would be able to view information on all TIFs in Cook County, not just in their area.

Orr encouraged municipalities to release easily accessible information on TIFs. Orr praised the Civic Federation, which released a study on the role of TIFs as a municipal development tool, and Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley for spearheading the call for transparency in the TIF reporting process.

“They are on the right path with their suggestions,” Orr said. “Municipalities need to do more to promote easily accessible information on TIFs, their budgets and expenditures.”