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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Illinois Governor: Bears Are ‘Private Business,’ Don’t Need Taxpayer Funds

  • Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said that he loves the Bears, but they don't need excessive public funds for a new stadium and development.
  • A state senator proposed freezing property tax assessments for major new projects.
Chicago Bears want public money to move
Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears are getting blocked by the state of Illinois.

Gov. JB Pritzker said he wasn’t in favor of a plan that would provide tax relief for the team regarding its proposed stadium and development in Arlington Heights.

State Sen. Ann Gillespie, who represents Arlington Heights, filed a bill that would freeze the team’s property assessment for up to 40 years.

“I love the Bears,” said Pritzker, “but it is a private business, and I honestly do not think the public has an obligation to fund, in this major way, a private business.”

The Bears are intent on moving to the town northwest of Chicago after agreeing to buy the Arlington Heights Racetrack in 2021 for $197 million. The team is planning a $5 billion entertainment district centered around a $2.2 billion domed stadium.

School District Enters the Field

The school district based in Arlington Heights voted to hire a lobbyist to represent the district in state government on “mega projects” such as the Bears’ proposed development, particularly in regard to tax breaks the team might access.

The team hasn’t secured public funding from state and local governments, nor has it struck deals for land use, transportation, or other related issues.

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