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Old Posted Oct 27, 2020, 7:24 PM
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Bonsai Tree Bonsai Tree is offline
Small but Mighty
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 306
Originally Posted by mark0 View Post
"I'm sure a lot has changed since the 90s when the book was written"

It sure has. Chicago did a great job keeping itself relevant in the new economic order however the region and especially the state of Illinois have floundered and sadly it's bringing Chicago down with it. A lot of factors to discuss but business competitiveness, lack of natural features and lousy weather really hurt Illinois in an era where sunshine, natural beauty and low taxes are prime drivers. The options / futures industry is also changing, central banks now trade and control the volatility making meaning the "market makers" are gone and with them a huge blow to our financial center standing despite the exchanges being headquartered here. In addition we no longer have a single money center bank. We have no national media. No major tech platform. A lot has gone wrong in the last 20 years and our political class has no ideas while we hemorrhage people and talent. If you think its bad in the Chicago area go down state, it's stagnant and shrinking. I really think we need to shore up Illinois going forward and Chicago will naturally go along with it. The Downstaters are correct when they complain about Chicago soaking up the resources of the state.

Edit: Dont mean to be a downer but we shouldn't be subsidizing these private mega projects in Chicago. If they cant happen on their own then they cant happen. We are in emergency survival mode here trying to stay above stall speed. I personally think every dollar the city and state takes in should go towards stabilizing the debts (reform is another topic). Once the state and city officially go broke and can no longer borrow the decline can take decades to recover from if ever.
I hate to say this, but Chicago is fundamentally different than downstate. We operate in two completely different spheres and I'm perfectly ok with that. Chicagoland doesn't owe anything to downstate.

Also, we're not subsidizing these megaprojects in the traditional sense. You seem to be under the common misconception of how TIFs for megadevelopments operate. The city isn't giving sterling bay $1.3 billion dollars and saying "have fun". Sterling Bay and Related Midwest are going out of their own pockets to pay for infrastructure within the megadevelopments. In exchange, part of the added tax revenue from those developments will pay off the developer. It's a way to improve the city's infrastructure while keeping our deficit down. By your own metric, you should be in favor of this. And I'm not sure what that has to do with North Union since I don't think any sort of Tif has been discussed yet.

As to your "we have no strengths" thing. I think that we'll hopefully find that our abundant water, lack of natural disasters, and inexpensive cost of living may attract more people in the future. I know many on the West Coast who are considering a move somewhere else in the country because it is unlivable out there. Your entire argument about sunshine, taxes, etc. may ring true to some extent, but I'd also like to remind you that Chicago is the capital of the Midwest. Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Indiana have all had steadily increasing populations (even despite their bad weather). When the Midwest does better, we'll do better as well.
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