One lawmaker opposed to an expansive new transit tax-financing plan said taxpayers will end up picking up the tab for politically-run construction projects.
The bill, approved this week by the General Assembly, would allow Chicago to qualify for federal funds to extend and upgrade its rail system. This would include the long-sought Red Line rail extension into the north suburbs. It creates a tax-increment funding mechanism that would siphon off new property tax dollars along the rail routes. School property taxes would be exempt, but 80 percent of the remaining funds would to pay for project.
State Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, voted against the bill. He said the bill guarantees yet another tax increase for Chicagoans.
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"Yesterday was a day of infamy for the taxpayers of the state of Illinois, but the TIF bill was just an absolute joke," he said. "To bring a bill like that at the last minute. Nobody had any details about it. One thing we know for sure is that the taxpayers of Chicago are going to be stuck with the bill."
McSweeney said TIF districts can lend themselves to corruption.
"We shouldn't be picking winners and losers," he said. "That's why I oppose these (Economic Development for a Growing Econonomy) credits. It's corporate welfare, cronyism. These (TIF deals) are the same thing. The insiders in a lot of cases, not all, end up getting these TIF districts."
The bill is waiting to be sent to Gov. Bruce Rauner to be signed into law