The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Chicago Shell Game

Jul 31, 2017

In 2013, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel caused an uproar by spending 55 million dollars in TIF funds on a new stadium for DePaul University and a Marriott hotel project in the South Loop. TIF funds are basically a surcharge added on to property taxes that is supposed to be used to help end blight in poor areas. Emanuel defended this project with a lie, claiming the arena/hotel project would not happen without this money and it would help the south side, creating jobs and development.

But it turns out his lie was justifying another lie. A new report by Crain’s shows that the 55 million dollars didn’t really go to the South Loop arena/hotel. The arena/hotel project was part of a shell game, used to funnel the money to Navy Pier – one of the richest, most popular tourist attractions in the Midwest!

Every year, the city puts huge piles of money into these TIF funds, taken from property taxes paid by working people. Chicago put 561 million dollars in tax revenue into the mayor’s TIF slush funds just this year. This money could go a long way to providing funding for the schools, or streets, or after-school programs, or health care. But Emanuel would rather give us lies on top of lies – and give the money to his rich friends.