Arlington Heights residents oppose Chicago Bears tax

Arlington Heights residents oppose Chicago Bears tax

Arlington Heights residents want the Chicago Bears to move to town, but nearly 70% of residents surveyed are against using taxpayer dollars to build a new football stadium.

Most Arlington Heights residents want to see the Chicago Bears move to town, but a survey found they don’t want the bill for constructing a stadium.

Americans for Prosperity-Illinois conducted a poll of 300 registered voters in Arlington Heights. They found 72% of residents support the Bears building a stadium at Arlington Racetrack, which ended nearly 100 years as a horse track when the Bears agreed to purchase it.

However, 68% oppose giving the Bears tax dollars to help build the new stadium. That number went up to 73% when given context on Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes’ openness to using taxpayer money.

Americans for Prosperity-Illinois is also circulating a petition seeking an ordinance in the village prohibiting use of taxpayer funds to assist in the construction of the Bears’ new stadium. When asked about it in the poll, 54% of respondents supported the ordinance.

Arlington Heights is a rarity for allowing anyone to propose an ordinance by collecting a small number of petition signatures. The ordinance is expected to be presented Sept. 19 at the village board meeting, but if rejected the group may take the issue to voters in the spring.

Hayes said he has issues with the poll, saying the questions were worded to skew local opinion. He said taxpayers’ dollars will only be used as a last resort.

“As you know, the Bears have not asked us for anything. We’ve not promised anything. It’s just too premature to go down that road,” Hayes said. “We’re going to do the best we can to make sure that this is a win-win for both the Bears and for our community.”

Chicagoans are still on the hook for $415 million for past renovations made in 2002 to Solider Field. Mayor Lori Lightfoot has pitched another round of renovations that would cost each city taxpayer anywhere from $833 to $2,036 as a way to keep the football team from moving out of Chicago.

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