In 1989, I was standing next to State Rep. Delores Doederlein on the House floor the night that the Hoffman Estates Tax Increment Financing District for Sears was passed.
As the debate neared its end, she asked me if I though that her Dundee and Algonquin Township (and points west) constituents would want her to vote for the TIF bill.
Having represented the same area for eight years in the 19770′s, I told her I doubted it.
“That’s what I thought,” she said before voting against the bill.
The Daily Herald reports the benefit to Sears and its purchaser, the owners of K-Mart, got a $240 million subsidy.
That came out of the pockets of local taxpayers not in the TIF district. .
What a TIF district does is force everyone else located in tax districts covering the TIP district to subsidize the development of the enterprise or enterprises within the area.
Think the Vulcan Lakes TIF district.
Everyone is McHenry County is subsidizing it, because all tax districts, including McHenry County, the McHenry County Conservation District and McHenry County College raise their taxes on us to make up for the loss along Route 14.
The biggest loser in the Sears TIF district is Carpentersville School District 300.
District 300′s Cheryl Crates discovered House Bill 3435, introduced by State Rep. Fred Crespo, who used to be on the Hoffman Estates Village Board.
The legislation would pull property tax dollars out of the pockets of taxpayers in Algonquin, Dundee, Hampshire and other townships into which District 300 and Elgin Community College snake for 15 more years.
The contemplated deal would allow the failing firm to cut its local workforce by one-third.
Hoffman Estates will also be on the hook for about $60 of the $180 million which it borrowed.
Needless to say, Hoffman Estates politicians would rather have District 300 taxpayers share the pain of its faulty projections 20 years ago.
Already Crates estimates that District 300 has lost $195 million in tax revenue. District 300 received $30 million during that time period.
This is not the only local example of Sears wanting a public subsidy.
Spring Hill Mall was built by a subsidiary of Sears called Homart.
Instead of building in Downtown Elgin, the Hill Nursery property was selected. It was at the intersection of two two-lane state highways.
Homart would not even pay for adding the needed extra lanes next to its property.
Oh, it fronted the money, but cut a deal with at least Carpentersville to give the firm the extra sales taxes for ten years to repay Homart for the extra lane.
And, did Sears pay for doubling the size of Route 31 from Elgin to the shopping center?