The TIF Illumination Project

Location:  Chicago, IL
United States
Project Description: 

The TIF Illumination Project (, which uses data mining, graphic visualization and community organizing to investigate and explain TIFs on a ward-by-ward basis in a wholly new and user friendly way. We helped organize and presented at a TIF Town Meeting on February 12 at the Chopin Theater that was attended by over 220 people! See html for media coverage and my own presentation materials. The direct link is See the attached PDF of the poster-size graphic that explains our investigation of the 12 TIFs inside the 27th Ward. We distributed hundreds of copies of this graphic at that forum.

At the Town Meeting we did break out sessions on organizing and got people to caucus by regions of the city to meet one another and to talk about doing their own town meetings. We want everyone to know what TIFs are really doing to their communities. The result has been overwhelming.  So far some 800 people have attended these workshops since February 12. Each forum is organized by a different group of citizens from that community. Each ward TIF forum (or “Illumination,” as we call it) gets its own customize graphic poster.

When Illuminate the TIFs inside a ward we reveal:

- How much property taxes were sucked out of the ward by each of the TIFs JUST FROM INSIDE THE WARD BORDERS
- Where TIF $ were spent in the ward up to 2010
- How many property tax dollars were sitting the accounts of those in-ward TIFs at the start of 2012 that CAME FROM THE WARD
- How much TIF $ were given in SBIF and NIP grants in the ward
- A map and graphic poster showing all this and more

This information is not available from any other source, public or private.