Daily Archives: March 5, 2015

New Norridge corporate welfare for HIP mall in 2015

New Norridge corporate welfare for HIP

Taxpayers will again have to pay Michael Marchese’s Harlem Irving Plaza (HIP) millions, this time for the HIP expansion on Cullom & Harlem Ave.

Between 2015-2020, taxpayers will pay the HIP up to $1.5 million in corporate welfare dubbed “tax rebates”. Depending on the year, it may be between $200,000 to $300,000 annually, or 1% of sales tax revenue received by the Village.

Most food and medical related products are taxed at the 2.25% rate and all other products at 9.25%. Of those percentages, most go to the State of Illinois and only a fraction of that makes it to local Norridge government coffers.

The anchor tenant at the expansion is X-Sport, which doesn’t collect any sales tax, as it’s a service. This X-Sport has caused many problems in the residential neighborhood around the Harlem Irving Plaza and has resulted in more police cost to patrol it.

The X-Sport has also generated more than a dozen ambulance visits from the Norwood Park Fire Department since it opened, to the end of November 2014.

This isn’t the first time Norridge taxpayers have been on the hook for corporate welfare to the Harlem Irving Plaza.

Since 2011, the “Marchese Mall” has contributed thousands of dollars to Mayor James Chmura’s Norridge Improvement Party political campaign.

Chmura’s NIP was only too willing to put taxpayers on the hook in gratitude.

Conflict of interest or kickbacks?

If you are receiving campaign contributions from a company, you shouldn’t be voting on giving the public’s money to that company.

At best, it’s a conflict of interest; at worst, it’s kickbacks.

Taxpayers also footed the $58,000 bill for police traffic control services on Forest Preserve Drive by Target for the “interest of public safety”; the HIP has not reimbursed the Village for these services.

We say government (at any level) has no business forcing taxpayers to subsidize corporate profits. Do you agree?

Another question we should be asking ourselves: is signing these corporate welfare agreements the actions of an independent mayor (Chmura was Financial Director at the time), doing what’s best for the interests of the people of Norridge?

Or, is it that of a bought-and-paid-for lackey – repaying his Chicago corporate master’s gifts, not with his own money, but with the people’s money?