Burns flips on TIF cash

Assistant to the Editor

Ald. Will Burns (4th) voted last Wednesday to discharge from City Council an ordinance he co-sponsored last July.

The legislation would have redistributed undesignated funds from city Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts with 2012 revenues of more than $1 million to the municipality, for possible use on Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and public works.

The ordinance remained in the Rules Committee until last week, when Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) invoked Rule 41, which allows for a vote on legislation that has been stuck in the committee for more than 30 days.

Burns said in a statement he released the same day he voted that there was “no rationale as to the $1 million threshold for sweeping any TIF.” He added, “State leaders have failed to properly invest in Chicago Public Schools.”

Burns called the vote a “false choice,” arguing that “political actors” were using the vote “as a litmus test to ascertain who supports public schools.”

“I do support TIF surpluses,” Burns said in an e-mail the next day. “I’ve voted for them as a part of the City’s budget for the past two years. The question is the size of the TIF surplus and how that surplus is determined.”