CivicLab Announces New Crowd-Funded Book: ‘Chicago Is Not Broke. Funding the City We Deserve’

"Chicago Is Not Broke. Funding the City We Deserve"

CHICAGO—(ENEWSPF)—November 30, 2016. The CivicLab ( and the TIF Illumination Project (  has published a new crowd-funded book. “Chicago Is Not Broke. Funding the City We Deserve.” A group of Chicago experts have written short articles outlining ways to save and generate MAJOR revenues for Chicago.

The organizer and editor is Tom Tresser ( and the book is based on this Huffington Post article from September 2015:

The project has been made possible via a crowdfunding campaign. As of July 8, 2016 200 people chipped in $8,367 towards a goal of $10,000. A grant of $2,000 from the Crossroads Fund took us to the campaign goal.

The web site for this project is: The crowdfunding campaign is being hosted on Generosity (a sister site to at

“We are seeking to broaden the conversation on civic possibilities in Chicago well in advance of the 2017 budget cycle. This project is based on the three years of research and public education done via the TIF Illumination Project as well as my past ten years work fighting privatization and doing grassroots democracy all over Chicago and Cook County,” says organizer Tom Tresser.

The book is designed by Alison Sustarich of Tiny Bold Design Studio –

Besides a physical print book, we will also place the material on a book-related wiki site which will have links to references and examples. We will invite people to use this wiki to ADD and DEEPEN the references and examples used in the book.

We see this as a massive, ongoing popular education campaign that will bring thousands of ordinary Chicagoans into substantive public policy discussions about the future of Chicago.

The book follows this outline:

  1. Preface – Why this book, Tom Tresser –
  2. How to Think About Budgets – Ralph Martire of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability –
  1. The cost of corruption in Chicago – Prof. Dick Simpson, University of Illinois at Chicago – and Thomas J. Gradel, investigative reporter –
  2. Toxic Bank Deals – Jackson Potter, Chicago Teachers Union –
  1. The Cost of Police Abuse – Jamie Kalven, Invisible Institute. –
  1. Tax Increment Financing – Billions Off the Books – Tom Tresser.
  1. A Progressive Income Tax For Illinois – Hilary Denk, Co-Chair, Issues Committee of the Board of the League of Women Voters Illinois –
  1. What a LaSalle Street Tax Would Do For Chicago – Ron Baiman, Assistant Professor of Economics in the Graduate Business Administration program at Benedictine University – and William Barclay, Adjunct Professor at the Liautaud College of Business Adminstration at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Both are active members of the Chicago Political Economy Group ( and have done extensive research on the financial transaction tax.
  1. A Public Bank For Chicago – Amara Enyia, PhD, former candidate for mayor, Public Policy Consultant, Principal of ACE Municipal Partners –

Conclusion, Final Box Score Number of Proposed Revenues, Call To Action – Jonathan Peck, former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Tucson Urban League has over 25 years experience working within the community development field facilitating projects, coalitions, and alliances at the neighborhood, citywide, regional, national and international levels.

The book is available for sale and download online. For additional information, or to obtain a copy of the book, visit:

Legendry political strategist Don Rose called the book “required reading” – read the review here.

About Tom Tresser:

Tom is a civic educator and public defender who has been doing public work for over 40 years. His voter registration campaign was in 1973. He calls himself a “public defender” because Chicago’s history of corruption and local corruption has made this city Ground Zero for bad deals which strip mine public assets for private gain. Chicago’s infamous parking meter deal being the most well-known (and hated) example. In 2008 Tom led the creation of Protect Our Parks ( to stop the privatization of Lincoln Park. In 2009 he was a co-leader of No Games Chicago ( which worked to derail the bid for the 2016 Olympics. Tom was a co- founder of the CivicLab ( which operated as America’s only co-working space dedicated to social justice and civic engagement for two years in Chicago’s West Loop. Tom has been the lead organizer for the TIF Illumination Project for the past three years ( This all- volunteer effort has been investigating and exposing the impacts of Chicago’s massive Tax Increment Financing program on a ward-by-ward basis. He has presented on TIFs at 45 public meetings in front of 4,600 people.