Study Finds “Reverse Robin Hood” Effect In Illinois

To those of us who grew up there, this news is a bit like reporting on the sun rising in the morning, but for the rest of you…From the Chicago Tribune:

    Draw a map of Chicago-area communities where businesses have received state subsidies. Now draw another of places plagued by joblessness.

    The result, according to a watchdog group that examined 15 years of subsidies to companies in the six-county Chicago area, are two maps that barely touch.

    It’s the “reverse Robin Hood effect” of the state rewarding the rich, said Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit group that has charted the impact of state-supported incentives on communities.

The winners, of course, were the areas out by O’Hare and the North and Northwest suburbs. Currently in Illinois there are no guidelines, and no policies for doling out state subsidies, and the money is going to places that might not spur economic growth in poorer neighborhoods.

” Financial help for firms located far from downtown Chicago adds to some workers’ commutes while it also creates jobs beyond the reach of others without cars, the study said.

Out of 782 subsidies reviewed by the watchdog group, only 141 were given to firms located within a half-mile of a Chicago Transit Authority station or bus line, the report found.” Oh, Illinois. —MEGHANN MARCO

State subsidy study: `Reverse Robin Hood’ [Chicago Tribune]