|Rahm's Choose Chicago cronies applaud the great TIF swidle.|
I continue to learn from Professor Joravsky about TIF, the Mayor's own taxpayer supported slush fund. Today, the prof schools us on what might be Rahm's greatest-of-all scams, the DePaul Arena TIF swindle, by which he takes millions in taxpayer dollars that should go to Chicago Public Schools and funnels them to his rich pals and corporations. In the latest case, that means spending $55 million of your property tax dollars to build a hotel and basketball arena for DePaul, on the near-south side. This at the same time he's about to close more than 50 neighborhood schools, primarily in the city's most under-served black communities, because the city is too broke to operate them.
And what do you, the taxpayers, get for this $55 million? You get a hotel that you'll probably never stay in. And an arena for DePaul basketball games that you'll probably never attend. Because let's face it—there are even fewer fans of the Blue Demons in this town than of the White Sox, who also play in a subsidized facility that doesn't often fill up.
Since the deal costs $55 million, we'll have less money to spend on schools. Which means most of them will still go without music, art, drama, intramurals, or reduced class sizes.
At this point, I should remind everyone who doesn't know that DePaul is a private university with tuition costing more than $30,000 a year for undergraduates. That means it's a long shot for average Chicagoans, unless they're willing to go into severe debt to pay for it.Which is exactly why I'm sharing Professor Joravsky's piece with my students who are doing exactly that. I'd like the get their take on the great TIF swindle.
Interesting (at least to me) was the sudden resignation of billionaire Republican candidate for governor, Bruce Rauner as chairman of Choose Chicago, the city's tourism arm. The resignation came on the eve of the announcement of the DePaul Arena deal. Rauner was named chairman of the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau in 2010 by former Mayor Richard Daley. When the CCTB merged with the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture last year, Mr. Rauner became chair of the newly created Choose Chicago.
Is candidate Rauner now trying to distance himself from the DePaul deal, in case it collapses in scandal?
Rahm has named former White House social secretary Desiree Rogers, as Rauner's replacement. You might remember how Obama was forced to dump Rogers after two wannabe reality TV stars crashed the first White House state dinner, an event to honor of the prime minister of India. I suppose this was a way to give her a place to land. It usually works that way in the City the Works.