What's in the TIF pot?

Thanks to Christopher Ball and Daniel La Spata for working on this post.

TIF    Projection    Reports

Total Balance    -                              Jan. 2012      $1,028,019,600

Total Property  Taxes Collected (2012-2013)    $928,254,000

Total Revenue                                                         $1,956,273,600

Current Obligations    (2012-2013) -                   $1,001,110,500

Total Revenue less Current Obligations           $955,163,100

2014    Taxes Collected    (Projected)                $445,323,000

2014  Obligations    (Projected) -                        $217,350,800

2014  Revenue less  Obligations (projected)   $227,972,200

The data for these estimates comes directly from the City of Chicago’s TIF Projection Reports, available athttps://data.cityofchicago.org/Community-Economic-Development/TIF-Projection-Reports/zai4-r88e

The balance in all TIF funds for Chicago as of Jan. 2012 was $1.028 bilion (obtained by summing the Funding Sources marked as “Fund Balance Available to Program (Jan-12)”). The report projects property tax revenue from TIFs of $484 million in 2012 and and $463 million in 2013 (obtained by summing the Funding Sources marked as “Property Tax Revenue” for each year). Summing these revenues with the Fund Balance gives total revenue in TIF accounts of $1.956 billion. Current Obligations for each year were obtained by summing the “Current Obligations” Funding Sources. The sum for 2012 and 2013 was $1.001 billion.  By deducting the Current Obligations from the the Total Revenue, we arrive at $955 million projected to be available as of the end of 2013.  This could be potential surplus money. For 2014, I deducted the projected obligations from the from the projected taxes collected.

Arguably, one could include “Potential Projects” as  intended-to-be-obligations, but doing so does not change the basic outcome. Potential Projects for 2012 and 2013 summed to $145 million; deducting them from Revenue results in $810 million rather than $955 million of potential surplus. Likewise, $28 million in projected 2014 Potential Projects would reduce the revenue remaning after Current Obligations were deducted to $200 million.

No one is suggesting that the entire surplus (revenue after expenditures) be returned, only the amount to patch the cuts created by the SBB/per-pupil change-over. There may be less money that is 180 days old in the accounts, and so the entire $810 million would not be available at the end of Dec. 2013, but we are not asking for the entire $810 million.

City officials also can argue that property taxes have yet to be fully collected for 2013 and that 2014 estimates are less reliable than 2013 ones. However, even if property tax revenue was only $300 million for 2013, or $163 million less than projected, then there would still be revenues in excess of expenditures of over $646 million ($810 million minus $163 million). If only a third of that was 180-days old, we would still have over $200 million available to return to the taxing authorities.