For the last week or so, Mayor Emanuel’s aides have been holding private briefing sessions with aldermen regarding the upcoming spectacle known as passage of the city’s budget.

  • Chandler West/Sun-Times Media
  • Mayor Rahm points to where the money is: TIFs, of course.

As far as many parents, teachers, principals, and students are concerned, the most relevant aspect of these briefings can be found on page 77 of the annual financing analysis, a document mayoral aides are sharing with aldermen.

So thank you, Deep Throat, for sharing it with me.

On page 77, you can find a reference to the tax increment financing program’s surplus, or, as the analysis calls it, the “aggregate balance.”

The TIF program is the one where the city raises the amount you pay in property taxes in the name of things you like—such as schools—and sends the money to a slush fund controlled by the mayor. Each year the slush fund accumulates more money than the mayor’s obligated to spend, which results in the aforementioned surplus.

As we all know, Mayor Daley invented this scam. He pretty much got away with it because times were relatively good and he had enough sense not to wage war against his fellow Chicagoans.