Wednesday, April 21, 2021
SPRINGFIELD – An initiative by the Illinois Office of Comptroller to bring more transparency and accountability to tax increment financing, or TIF, reporting was approved by the Illinois House with overwhelming bipartisan support Wednesday.
The measure, House Bill 571, will move to the state Senate for consideration.
“I want to thank lawmakers and the legislation’s sponsors for prioritizing this important measure to help taxpayers better understand 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.
“HB 571 represents a major step towards providing the type of oversight, accountability and transparency that ensures TIFs produce the economic outcomes that were promised to taxpayers and local taxing bodies including school districts,” said Thomas Bertrand, executive director of the Illinois Association of School Boards.
The proposal, 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.