CITY HALL — Self-proclaimed progressives in the City Council put forth a proposal Wednesday to post the details of insider development deals using public funds online.
Calling it the "TIF accountability ordinance," Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) said it would create an online database on publicly funded developments and provide "a way to pull back and make sure they deliver everything that they promised."
Pawar led the members of the Paul Douglas Alliance in submitting the ordinance. It will post all details on deals using tax-increment-finance district funds. TIFs have come under "justifiable criticism," said Ald. Joe Moore (49th), for being used as political slush funds for boondoggles.
The ordinance would require that details on TIF deals are posted online, such as promises developers make on hiring and increasing property-tax and sales-tax revenues.
"What this does is make the promises public," Pawar said. "We just want to see what you get in exchange for that public benefit."
"It's hard for the public, members of the general public, to find out this information," Moore said. "It puts a developer on notice that they're being watched." He added that it would enable citizens and aldermen to weigh "the promises made by developers versus the reality of whether the promises were delivered."
The Paul Douglas Alliance consists of self-proclaimed progressives who have made themselves more amenable to Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "We're very confident it will enjoy the support of Mayor Emanuel," Moore said.
Pawar said it was no slight not to present the ordinance through the Progressive Reform Coalition, a more confrontational group he also belongs to. "I don't feel like drawing lines, honestly," Pawar said, adding that he hoped to eventually serve as a go-between between the rival groups.