TIFs: Who do they help? Who do they hurt?


TIFs can be complicated, but these simple truths are very easy to understand.


  1. TIFs take money from taxpayers and give it to developers.
  2. The developers are under no obligation to give the funds back to the taxpayers.
  3. The developers are under no obligation to ensure that the project creates any sort of benefit for the community.

What do others have to say about TIFs?


Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE): (Link to complete document)

"...Elimination of TIF and enterprise zones- they have been abused. TIF's and enterprise zones have done great harm to school districts not only by interfering with revenue but have helped create the public mistrust of schools and their use of $. Most taxpayers do not realize that they are now bearing all (almost) the weight. The abuses of TIF's are rampant..."


Illinois Association of School Boards - Position statement: (Link to source document)


The Illinois Association of School Boards shall support changes in the current Tax Increment Financing statute that will model adoption procedures after those established for Enterprise Zones, continue to provide definitions for terms such as “blighted” used in the statute, develop procedures for disbanding TIF areas that do not produce anticipated growth, remove the requirement that all taxing bodies participate equally, to be monitored by the TIF Joint Review Board at each of its scheduled meetings, reduce the financial impact of the TIF area so that the percentage loss of Equalized Assessed Valuation (EAV) involved in the TIF will not exceed twice the average loss of EAV to each taxing body, limit its use in new residential development, and make the recommendation of the Joint Review Board binding.

(Adopted 1986; Amended 1990, 1997; Reaffirmed 2006)..."



Other Resources:

- Copy of suit from D200 full agenda packet


Local Citizen: Expected Return Analysis Of Woodstock D200 litigation against alleged invalid Lakewood TIF

(Link to source document)


Tom Tresser: TIF Illumination Project


TIF Timeline:


Click the button to the right to create an email to the D200 board requesting that they pursue the lawsuit to invalidate the Lakewood TIF:


Woodstock TIF Enlightenment


This is the (nearly) full presentation given by Tom Tresser of the TIF Illumination Project at the Woodstock Public Library on October 20, 2015.


This presentation not only describes how a TIF works, who it helps, who it hurts, and maybe most importantly the long-term effects of TIFs on they areas they cover.

TIF 101

At just over twenty minutes, this is a primer on TIFs presented by Rachel Weber, Professor, Urban Planning and Policy at University of Illinois at Chicago and David Orr, Cook county Clerk.



Thanks again to  Tom Tresser of the TIF Illumination Project for producing this video.


We're a group of local citizens concerned about our community and hoping to make a difference by:

  • increasing awareness of critical public policy
  • creating ways to make it easier for the public to become involved
  • shining a light on waste, corruption and the thoughtless spending of our tax dollars