Chicago City Council: Don't Vote on MegaTIFs without a Racial Equity Impact Assessment!

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Chicago City Council: Don't Vote on MegaTIFs without a Racial Equity Impact Assessment!

We call on the City Council and the Department of Planning and Development to delay any further actions/votes on the two largest TIF districts ever proposed in Chicago’s history, until a Racial Equity Impact Assessment can be completed and published to our city leaders.

The City has currently proposed the creation of two TIF districts that would commit a total of $2.4 billion in public funds – the proposed Cortland/Chicago River TIF district that includes the “Lincoln Yards” development site, and the proposed Roosevelt/Clark TIF, which includes plans for “The 78” development site.

An investment of this size has significant implications on future policies on a wide range of issues, including affordable and inclusive housing, public parks, public transit, public schools, and economic development.

We know that without being intentional about how these plans fit into the context of Chicago’s history of racial inequity, we are likely to further racial inequity in our future policies. A Racial Equity Impact Assessment (REIA) is a tool to weigh the benefits and burdens of a major decision or policy, to protect against new harm.

The plans linked with these proposed TIFs would impact development patterns in Chicago for decades. Now is the time – in the planning stage, not after the fact – to ensure that our TIF policies are comprehensive, forward-looking and equitable. An REIA of these new TIFs is essential and whose findings need to be considered before a cent of public dollars are committed to any current or future planned developments in our City.

Lincoln Yards / TIF Equity Coalition
Bucktown Community Organization
Chicago Housing Initiative
Chicago Independent Venues League (CIVL)
Coalition for Affordability in Lincoln Park
525 Task Force (to replace North Side units eliminated by CHA)
Friends of the Parks
Grassroots Collaborative
LakeView Lutheran Church
Logan Square Neighborhood Association
ONE Northside
Raise Your Hand Action

What is a Racial Equity Impact Assessment?

A Racial Equity Impact Assessment is a policy tool used to measure the costs and benefits of a policy or program. We are interested in using this tool to guide a rigorous community engagement process where the people of our city will consider numbers and historical narratives to consider what policy options are available to further development while promoting racial equity.

This tool is used in over 150 jurisdictions across the country and has been used in the United Kingdom for over a decade as an evaluation tool before voting on governmental expenditures.

To learn more about REIAs, please see click here or here for the Annie E. Casey Foundation's report on this tool.

The REIA tool is supported by a national network of public officials, the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE). In Chicago, the use of REIAs is facilitated by Chicago United for Equity (CUE), which relies on private support and partnerships to facilitate REIAs, at no cost to our city government.

For an REIA on the proposed TIFs, CUE will facilitate community input and data collection and deliver a report with recommendations to Chicago’s new mayor, city council, and all stakeholders.