Former Governor Quinn Advocates for Voter Input on Stadiums: ‘Prioritizing Taxpayer Input is Key’

It has been nearly a quarter-century since former Illinois Governor Pat Quinn pushed for a referendum to decide whether the Bears should receive tax dollars for the costly renovation of Soldier Field.

Despite his efforts back then, Quinn’s proposal was rejected, leaving taxpayers accountable for approximately $600 million of the renovation costs. Now, with the Bears and White Sox seeking taxpayer funds for new stadiums, Quinn believes it is time to consult the voters once again.

Quinn advocates for prioritizing taxpayer input before committing public funds to sports stadium projects. He emphasizes that the significant investment required for such ventures could be allocated to address pressing needs in Chicago, such as housing, public safety, and education.

With this goal in mind, Quinn aims to bring a nonbinding referendum before Chicago voters on November 5th. The referendum would seek to gauge public opinion on whether taxpayer subsidies should be provided to the Chicago Bears or the White Sox for stadium construction or real estate development purposes.

Quinn expresses hope that Mayor Brandon Johnson and the Chicago City Council will support his initiative, citing the mayor’s commitment to grassroots democracy as a potential driving force behind advocating for voter involvement in such decisions.

Highlighting the importance of citizen participation in democratic processes, Quinn underscores the lack of opportunities for voters in Illinois and Chicago to weigh in on important issues like stadium funding. He views referendums as essential tools for empowering voters and ensuring their voices are heard.

Amid discussions about the Bears’ plans for a new lakefront stadium and the White Sox’s proposals for stadium relocation and mixed-use development projects, Quinn’s call for voter input signals a renewed emphasis on democratic decision-making and fiscal responsibility in allocating public resources.

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