May 5, 2010
On May 4, 2010 the Illinois General Assembly passed a bill that will significantly improve the transparency of information about Tax Increment Financing districts in Illinois. Senate Bill 3152 implements a number of the recommendations made by the Civic Federation in our 2007 TIF position statement which was based on the findings of our related TIF issue brief.
The issue brief described the impact of TIF on property taxpayers as well as on non-municipal taxing bodies and explained how TIF interacts with property tax caps, rate limits and the state school aid formula. In the course of this research we found that TIF financial information was not readily available in an easily accessible or electronic format. TIF revenues and expenditures were not disclosed in municipal budget documents, a problematic omission considering the large sums of taxpayer dollars directed toward TIF. The City of Chicago collected almost $500 million in property tax revenue for its TIF districts in tax year 2008 (paid in the fall of 2009).
In recent months the City of Chicago has published more TIF information on its web site and the Cook County Clerk’s Office has been adding helpful data to its TIF web site in recent years.
But some information gaps persist, and we urge Governor Quinn to sign SB 3152. This bill would make the following reforms recommended by the Civic Federation effective January 1, 2011:
- Require a 10-year status report on each TIF. The county or municipality that created the TIF would be required to publish a status report that includes:
o Amount of revenue generated;o Any expenditures made, including those from the special tax allocation fund;o Status of planned activities, goals, and objectives set forth in the economic development plan, including construction details;o Amount of private and public investment; ando Any other relevant performance data.
- A public hearing on the 10-year status report must be held with within 30 days of its release, with 20 days’ public notice.
- The annual budget of the county or municipality must include the amount of revenue generated from TIF districts by source as well as all TIF expenditures made.
- Municipalities must submit TIF data to the State Comptroller and to overlapping taxing bodies in an electronic format. This data must now include a list of all intergovernmental agreements in effect during that fiscal year to which the municipality is a party, and an accounting of any moneys transferred during the year pursuant to those agreements.
- The State Comptroller must post TIF information submitted by municipalities within 45 days of receiving. The Comptroller must also post a list of non-compliers.
The Civic Federation commends the sponsors of SB 3152, Senator Terry Link, Senator Christine Radogno, Representative Paul Froehlich, and Representative David Miller, for their leadership on this important transparency measure and we urge Governor Quinn to sign the bill into law.
On July 27, 2010 Governor Pat Quinn signed the TIF reform bill into law. Click here to read the blog post about the enactment.