Several weeks ago, Ben Joravsky(?) mentioned that Mike Quigley had done a report on TIF’s, their impacts and misuse. Having finally read it, I find it’s a good, clear description of how TIF’s work in Chicago and Cook County, and I recommend it for those who want a good understanding of this. There are also recommendations for improving the reporting, so the public (if it cares, and/or is aided by journalists) could understand what TIF’s are actually doing.
Unfortunately, Quigley believes that TIF’s are a legitimate development tool, just that they’ve been used inappropriately. Why local governments cannot simply collect the taxes and build the infrastructure, without designating special zones, is not explained.