Chicago aldermen demand answers to shifting of TIF money
Chicago aldermen recently demanded an explanation from Mayor Rahm’s Emanuel administration and McCormick Place officials about a plan to divert $55 million in tax increment financing money to a hotel construction project and Navy Pier upgrades, according to the Better Government Association (BGA).
In a City Hall hearing, the aldermen argued that details of the plan were hidden from them when they approved the budget in 2014.
The controversy began after the BGA and Crain's Chicago Business reported that the city and the agency that runs McCormick Place justified the change in allocation of the TIF money by saying the work would be done on the blighted South Side of the city.
Chicago Planning and Development Commissioner David Reifman defended the move by saying the money was shifted to Navy Pier after the city paid hotel construction costs to the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority. He added that the plan was addressed by Emanuel in 2013 in budget upgrades to both McCormick Place and Navy Pier.
“I was upfront that we were going to not only improve McCormick Place, we were going to create jobs and economic opportunity at Navy Pier,” he said, according to the BGA. “I said it when I announced it in 2013 that we were going to create thousands of construction jobs and add jobs to tourism and the hospitality industry and the convention business, and that’s exactly what’s happened.”