I have posted several earlier entries about projects that include tax increment financing.
Here’s some context: TIF is used in the City to rebuild the market for certain sorts of development, stimulate private investment, and sustain the economic momentum we have established in the last few years.
We don’t use it lightly or routinely.
In cooperation with the staffs of the Comptroller and the Board President and senior aldermen, the City development staff sorts through the many requests for TIF and brings only the most compelling ones forward to be considered by the City’s TIF Commission.
They do a good job.
They have been tough negotiators with developers. And they have hired enough special legal and financial expertise to level the playing field with the applicants.
At the same time, they have tried to listen to the concerns of developers and their experts so that things actually got done, they have watched what other cities across the country are accomplishing, and they have learned from past experience.
Over the past several years, the City’s TIF process has become a model that is studied by other jurisdictions. Since 2001, the City has used TIF more than 60 times, mostly for mixed-use and commercial developments, stimulating more than $1.9 billion of investment throughout the City.
No two projects have been alike. Most of them have been successful and relatively uncontroversial. Taken together, they have allowed the City to develop some of its unique assets, rebuild investor confidence, and bolster the tax base.
I am confident that any legislative changes in the state TIF laws and regs will distinguish our careful and progressive use of this development tool from its injudicious use in other jurisdictions.