Get tough on TIF report requirement

December 8, 2013 

Another year, another round of taxing districts not filing reports about tax increment financing as state law requires. Washington Park, which keeps saying that it wants to cooperate with the requirements, still hasn't. It has never filed a report for the tax increment financing district it created in 2004. Brooklyn has a report due from 2001. East St. Louis is behind two years on its reports.

TIFs funnel millions of dollars in property taxes into what amounts to government slush funds; the public deserves an accounting of that money.

State officials wring their hands and threaten, but taxing districts ignore the law because there are no consequences for noncompliance.

The solution: The state should freeze the TIF accounts until the required reports are filed. No accounting for the public's money, no more spending. We bet the taxing districts would scramble to make the reports a priority then.

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