Tax Breaks & Ethic Filings – Both Opaque

Today’s front page of The Chicago Tribune is a ringing endorsement for the concept of The TIF Report and its parent organization, The CivicLab.

In the lead story on the $110 million tax breaks offered to Motorola, the Tribune reports that Motorola can cut it workforce IN HALF and still get our money. How did they know this – they filed Freedom of Information Act requests to get the details. This information should be well known and debated in advance of any taxpayer subsidies for private business. Good luck getting that information on proposed TIF projects.

Then – right below that story is a report on how poor Illinois ethics disclosure laws and reporting systems are. The forms “are so worthless” said David Morrison of The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.

So – there you have it. We can’t find out what conflicts of interests ensnare our elected officials. We can’t find out what tax give-aways they are showering on big business. We need Citizen Journalists to help us track and reveal these conflicts of interest and shine a spotlight on sweetheart deals and transfer of public assets into private hands.

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