Thursday, August 08, 2013
TIFF Over TIFS Results In $31,000 Fine For Belleville Business Owner
A Belleville, Illinois business owner, Dianne Rogge, applied for $15,000 in tax increment financing (TIF) for renovations to her business but was turned down, she says, because she supported the mayor's political opponent. After she posted a sign in her bar's window that read, "No TIF for Us, Tks B'ville," city inspectors began fining her $500 a day until she removed the sign for violating the city's sign ordinance according to the Belleville News Democrat. Her fine has now reached $31,000 and she's taking the city to court. Rogge's federal lawsuit claims her civil rights were violated when the city ordered her to remove the political sign from her window and assessed fines against her. Her lawsuit claims the city's sign ordinance regarding the posting of political signs is unconstitutional and is applied in a discriminatory fashion, noting that political supporters of the mayor post political signs in their business windows without being cited for violating the ordinance. I don't know what the reasoning was for turning down Rogge's TIF assistance, but renovations to a bar are probably not how TIF funds were intended to be used. I'm guessing she saw other businesses getting TIF money handed out to them like we see happening all the time in Indianapolis and felt she was entitled to her share.