Let’s talk TIF’s

By:  Diane Benjamin

If you don’t understand that Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is a slush fund for government friends, the Town and Normal and the City of Bloomington will continue to use them to funnel money to people they want to fund.  The theory is the money will be recovered with increasing property tax values and maybe some miscellaneous sales taxes.

Bloomington’s last downtown TIF (Tax increment Financing district) was started in 1986.  See the final TIF report filed with the Comptroller’s office in 2015  HERE

The chart below from Page 3 shows the TOTAL performance of the TIF.  I’ve heard members of the Bloomington City Council proclaim this TIF was very successful, the reports shows otherwise.  Over 29 years property values in the downtown TIF increased $15,369,595, but the City spent $23,500,000 to do it!  That $23,500,000 doesn’t include the interest paid if any of that money was borrowed.  Attempting to figure out bonds taken out over 29 years is virtually impossible however, especially when the TIF report shows -0- bonds.  More on what the City couldn’t tell me later.

Now look at page 10:

This chart is a different recap of the TIF performance.

It claims downtown had private investment of $17,717,935 over the life of the TIF.

Add the Public and Private investment together to arrive at a total investment of $22,351,076.

Property values only went up $15 million+.  Sales tax went up $1.25 million.

Looking at the actual numbers the City of Bloomington reported, this TIF did not increase revenue to the City.  It COST taxpayers.


Why didn’t the assessed values of the properties increase according to the investments?  Only the Assessor can answer that question.

Who got TIF money?  That’s next!

Why is who got the money important?  Because these people are the same ones extolling the greatness of downtown Bloomington.  Their opinions are jaded by the money they got.






3 thoughts on “Let’s talk TIF’s

  1. TIFs distort the marketplace and are an insult to business owners that shed their own blood, sweat, and tears. If Downtown was such an amazing opportunity then private investors, developers, and entrepreneurs would have invested accordingly. Tari and the Council are pandering to a bunch of downtown crybabies and developer-welfare recipients. The giving away of taxpayer money to a private business is proof that said business could never make it on its own. (Green Top Grocery, anyone?). The mark of a successful business in Bloomington-Normal is one that has no ties with government and hasn’t taken any taxpayer money.


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