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Illinois state Rep. David McSweeney files bill on TIF-related bonds

David McSweeney State Representative 52 District candidate
David McSweeney State Representative 52 District candidate

A bill filed Friday would give voters a way to stop referendums tied to tax increment financing districts.

State Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, had been following the news about Lakewood’s new TIF district, which is designed to spur economic development at the intersection of Routes 47 and 176, but has raised worries that village residents could be on the hook for millions of dollars if projects fall through.

McSweeney doesn’t represent Lakewood in Springfield; his district falls farther south, covering southeastern McHenry County, in particular parts or all of Cary, Fox River Grove, Algonquin, Lake in the Hills and Crystal Lake as well as parts of Lake, Cook and Kane counties.

But the bill he has proposed would affect non-home rule communities across the state.

The changes would give residents the ability to put the question of whether to issue any TIF-related bonds on the ballot, not just general obligation bonds that use the full faith and credit of the municipality. It would also make it easier to do so, extending the time residents have to gather the signatures to 45 days from 30 days and lessening the number of signatures needed to 7.5 percent of registered voters from 10 percent of the voters.

The bill isn’t meant to be a knock on Lakewood, McSweeney said, adding the debate just drew attention to TIF districts, something he thinks has been overused in the past.

“All I’m doing with this is ensuring that citizens have a voice,” he said.

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