Students at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management will present a report on the City of Evanston’s use of tax increment finance districts next week.

TIFs have frequently been the source of controversy becaus of uncertainty about whether they actually create more economic growth that would have occurred without them and because, during their life, they divert any increase in tax revenue to the city from other government entities, like the schools, that depend on property tax revenue.

This study was commissioned by the city as a quarter-long class project under the supervision of Kellogg Professor Therese McGuire.

McGuire is Professor of Management and Strategy at Kellogg and the Director of the Guthrie Center for Real Estate Research and the School’s Real Estate Program. She has conducted research on municipal finance issues, including the impact of Cook County’s property tax classification system on economic growth in the county.

The student study looks at the effectiveness of past and current Evanston TIF Districts and compares the effectiveness of Evanston’s TIFs with similar redevelopment areas in Illinois and across the United States.

In addition, the study makes recommendations of strategies to be employed by Evanston with the development of future TIF districts.

Evanston aldermen recently approved a TIF district for the Evanston Plaza shopping center at Dempster Street and Dodge Avenue and they’re considering another one for the Chicago-Main shopping district.

The city has five other current TIF districts and recently closed out a TIF in the downtown area that is credited with sparking development of the Century Theatre complex and other nearby developments.

The presentation is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 11, in the City Council Chambers at the Civic Center.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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