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Bears and Business Group Push New Type of Tax Incentive to Arlington Heights Stadium

Proponents of a proposed new plan to subsidize Arlington Heights Stadium for the Chicago Bears have so far planned a play without Springfield’s quarterback.

In fact, most of its supporters are still in huddle.

No bill has been introduced and no sponsor has been named for the bill to create a new class of tax incentives called pilots. It means paying instead of taxes.

This will allow the Bears to pay Arlington Heights the negotiated amount of property taxes on the 326-acre property of the Arlington International Racecourse. This amount is likely less than the amount the team is responsible for as they seek to increase the value of the stadium and other buildings.

“As we have publicly stated, we need property tax certainty for the Arlington Park project to move forward. We continue to do our due diligence on how we can achieve that.” the Bears said in a statement.

In a proposal summary, the team said 35 other states have similar tax incentives to attract major development, putting Illinois at a disadvantage. Bears’ proposal applies his PILOT incentive only to projects with capital expenditures greater than $500 million. The Arlington Heights stadium alone is estimated to cost at least $2.5 billion.

A key question in the Bears’ proposal is whether schools in the Arlington Heights area will be involved in negotiating payments. Developments that add families to the area will increase school enrollment. By extension, there will be a growing need for funding, which is now mainly supplied by property taxes.

According to the draft bill, the local government and the private developer can mutually terminate the incentives at any time, but the developer must agree to stay at the facility for at least 20 years.

Bears enlisted consultants, one of the state’s major business groups, and an association of road builders to help push the law forward.

The idea came to me in Springfield a few weeks ago. This included meetings with senior Democratic officials, including at least one representative from Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office. But the plan was vehemently opposed at first, a source familiar with the meeting told the Sun-Times.

But now, backers of the incentive, including the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, are trying to rally support, using the argument that without state support for the Bears, the team could pack up and leave.

“I think it needs to happen by the end of this session or we’ll have other states claiming why the Chicago Bears should be the St. Louis Bears,” said Illinois. “That’s the reality of the world. People may not like it, but everyone wants the Chicago Bears to remain the Chicago Bears.” It can get a little messy, but I think we reach a positive balance.”

Governor JB Pritzker in 2020 (left). Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Mysh (right).

Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times file. www.ilchamber.org.

Myche also refuted the characterization of it as a “Bears bailout”. $520 million in revenue in 2021, According to Forbes.

“I reject the idea that it is a bailout. There is competition across states and industries. I’m here.

September, Bears laid the groundwork for seeking some form of public subsidy They are considering a large mixed-use stadium development on the Arlington Heights grounds. The team said it would not seek public funding to build the stadium, but “additional funding and support” for a broader mixed-use development called one of the largest in Illinois history. ” is sought.

Pritzker has said it does not support public funding of stadiums.

And at the end of the Illinois legislature’s lame duck session, lawmakers passed the Illinois Investment Act, which includes the following language: [of Commerce and Economic Opportunity] No financial incentives shall be provided to professional sports organizations that move operations from one part of the state to another part of the state. ”

This was related to the use of discretionary funds for closing expenses. The bill has not yet reached the governor’s desk.

Rep. Mark Walker of D-Arlington Heights said he had considered the latest proposal and how the Appeals Board and Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi feel about freezing such a large-scale assessment for 20 years. I have many questions such as

State Rep. Mark Walker (left to right), Gov. JB Pritzker, and State Senator Anne Gillespie speak with John Riddler (right), Executive Director of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, during a visit to Arlington Heights in October. I'm listening.

State Rep. Mark Walker (left to right), Gov. JB Pritzker, and State Senator Anne Gillespie speak with John Riddler (right), Executive Director of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, during a visit to Arlington Heights in October. I’m listening.

Paul Valade/Daily Herald File

“I wouldn’t call it a subsidy.

“The problem I have is that local governments have to negotiate on behalf of school districts. Hmm… we’ll do this with this plan,” Walker said. “I don’t know yet. That’s the downside.”

Walker also said it was an “interesting proposition for the state to move businesses here,” but not necessarily for businesses looking to move to other parts of the state.

Walker said he was not asked to sponsor the bill.

State Senator Mary Beth Canty, D-Arlington Heights

State Senator Mary Beth Canty, D-Arlington Heights

“I could be seen as a sponsor. Choosing a sponsor or not is an entirely different matter. I find it offensive. They’re trying to see who’s the best.”

Rep. Mary Beth Canty of D-Arlington Heights told the Sun-Times that the proposal deserves “careful consideration” before considering it. Canty is also on the Arlington Park Village Board.

In an email to The Sun-Times, Canti said, “Like taxpayer financial commitments, the proposed subsidy plan for the Chicago Bears’ new stadium will be carefully considered before deciding whether to proceed. worth it.

“While we are excited about the potential for new economic development opportunities in our community, we need to clearly assess the potential return on spending and whether this project is where the state is involved. .”

https://chicago.suntimes.com/2023/1/26/23572762/chicago-bears-arlington-heights-park-racetrack-stadium-tax-subsidy-chamber-commerce-soldier-field Bears and Business Group Push New Type of Tax Incentive to Arlington Heights Stadium

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