Thursday, March 25, 2021
SPRINGFIELD – An initiative by the Illinois Office of Comptroller to bring more transparency and accountability to tax increment financing, or TIF, reporting took its first step toward passage Thursday.
The measure, House Bill 571, was approved by the House Revenue Committee, clearing the way for approval by the full Illinois House at a later date.
“This is a sensible plan to ensure taxpayers are presented with a more complete picture of whether promises made are promises kept when it comes to TIF districts in their communities,” Illinois State Comptroller Susana Mendoza said.
Municipalities with TIF districts already are required by law to report certain information to the Comptroller’s office annually. However, the information includes little data that demonstrates the effectiveness of the TIF districts, leading to a disconnect between the goals outlined for the TIF at its creation and its actual progress toward meeting those goals.
The measure, sponsored by State Rep. Jonathan Carroll (D-Northbrook), requires additional oversight of TIF districts by requiring municipalities to report the following additional information:
The measure would require municipalities, not the developers, to choose any consultant for providing analysis of the projected increment and the value of any debt issued by the municipality.
Also, the TIF District Redevelopment Plan would have to be included in the report submission when the TIF district is created, extended or, as is current law, when the redevelopment plan is amended.
“Creating more transparency around TIFs is essential and very necessary,” Carroll said. “This will give the people of Illinois the opportunity to better know and understand how their valuable tax dollars are being spent.”
The provisions in the measure only would apply to TIF districts beginning in or after fiscal year 2022.
TIF districts are an economic development tool used to generate investment and economic growth, improve infrastructure, and increase property values in blighted areas of a community.
Currently, there are more than 1,200 active TIF districts in Illinois.