Emanuel’s Foolish TIF for Police Plan

Over the weekend Rahm Emanuel became the latest local politician to propose tapping funds from the city’s tax increment financing districts to help pay for city services.

Emanuel said that if he is elected mayor he would use $25 million in TIF money to pay for 250 new officers that could be dispatched around the city as needed. This, he said, would let the city avoid making the “false choice” of deciding whether to move police districts away from some neighborhoods and into others with more pressing crime problems.

There all kinds of problems with this idea.  Mick Dumke at the Chicago News Cooperative points to a legal one:

Under state law, the city is required to spend TIF money in the area where it was generated (or, in some cases, in a nearby area). And currently most TIF funds are designated for use in downtown districts, according to a balance sheet on the city’s website.

(Full story here.)

Yes indeed, that’s a problem.  But here’s another one: in a department that is no less than 2,500 sworn officers short 250 is not enough to do anything!

This is the equivalent of someone getting their leg shot off and Rahm wants to offer then a band-aid.

I have an idea about how to solve the police crisis… and TIF reform… details coming soon but here’s a hint.  Tom Allen’s idea was a good start.  I say we go further.  I say we go all the way.