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County Oversight of TIF Districts Proposed

Wednesday, October 04, 2006
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Chicago, IL† Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin (D-13th District) introduced a proposed ordinance today which would give the Cook County Board President and the Board of Commissioners greater oversight and input of proposed Tax Increment Financing Districts (TIFs) within Cook County.† The proposal will be considered by the Finance Committee of the Cook County Board.

TIFs are an important economic development tool; however, greater oversight of the approval process for TIFs is warranted.† For the statutory 23-year lifetime of a TIF district, Cook County and other taxing bodies receive tax revenue only from the assessed value present in the district at its creation, known as the baseline equalized assessed value, an amount which is not adjusted for inflation.†

The establishment of a TIF district in a municipality in Cook County requires the approval of a joint review board, on which the County holds one seat.† Once a TIF district is established, the municipality in which the TIF district is located has total control over the funds generated by the TIF district, even though those funds are generated by diverting tax revenues that otherwise would have gone to all units of government present in the TIF district.

The diversion of property tax revenue prevents units of government present in the TIF district from maintaining the same tax rate and using that additional revenue for services or from lowering tax rates while achieving the same levy.

The proposed measure sets forth that the President of the County Board will designate the Director of the Countyís Department of Economic Development as his or her designee as the Countyís representative on each Joint Review Board.† The Cook County Board of Commissioners will receive copies of new TIF proposals within the County and the proposed TIFs may be discussed by the Board within the Finance Committee.† Commissioners will also receive quarterly reports from the Countyís Department of Economic Development with respect to all action relating to the creation, renewal and extension of any TIF during the preceding calendar quarter.

ďThis proposal will allow the Cook County Board of Commissioners to direct the countyís representative on Joint Review Boards to take action based on the impact proposed TIFs will have on other taxing entities within the TIFs, such as local school districts, and the anticipated job creation or retention related to such TIF.† Itís appropriate for the Cook County Board to look more closely at the TIF approval process and how TIF money is spent, ď stated Commissioner Suffredin.

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