SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — As slow steps toward a Bears stadium in Arlington Heights continue, the team expressed their hopes for a “consensus” in getting a recently proposed bill passed.
But as far as that actually happening, it will have to wait till the next legislative session.
A subject matter discussion was held in front of the Illinois House Executive Committee on House Bill 610 on Wednesday in Springfield. While sponsor Rep. Martin Moylan (D-Des Plaines) did present it, it won’t be brought in front of the legislature during this session, which is scheduled to end on May 19.
“I want to stress that this hearing and this proposal are just another step along the way to help move this debate forward,” said Rep. Moylan. “It would allow us time over the summer to create consensus with our members, the Chicago Bears, local officials, and business and labor leaders.
“We owe it to ourselves, our constituents, to get this right.”
House Bill 610 involves a few initiatives for the project, including the freezing of property tax assessments on the Arlington Park site while imposing a $3 ticket tax to help pay off the remaining debt on the 2002-2003 renovation of Soldier Field.
For the record, a statement from the Bears along with a few of their supporters in the project was read by executive committee chairperson Rep. Bob Rita (D-Blue Island).
“The Chicago Bears and their coalition partners are encouraged by the progress in the Illinois General Assembly to support the mega projects, sports and entertainment bill – House Bill 610 – which would add an important tool for mega projects across the State of Illinois, including the Chicago Bears proposed development,” said the team in a statement read by Rep. Rita. “The legislation provides an excellent foundation for the Chicago Bears to work closely with its coalition partners, including businesses and labor leaders, and with all concerned municipalities to develop legislation over the summer that meets the needs of the Chicagoland region and powers one of the biggest construction projects in the state’s history.
“The Bears are grateful that in the spirit of continued negotiations, the bill has gained support in the house in addition to Rep. Canty and other chief co-sponsors of House Bill 610.
“The Bears look forward to building a consensus for a strong piece of legislation that can pass the general assembly and head to Governor Pritzker’s desk for his approval of a bill, which will position the state to create jobs and economic growth for many years to come.”
According to Rep. Rita, those credited on the statement include Bears President and CEO Kevin Warren, Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, Illinois Chamber of Commerce Tax Institute, Chicagoland Associated General Contractors, Chicago Laborers District Council, Operation Engineers Local 150, IBEW Local 134, Chicago and Cook County Building Trades Council.
Rep. and assistant majority leader Kam Buckner (D-Chicago) was the only other member of the committee to speak on Wednesday. While he did praise Rep. Moylan for having good conversations on the bill and his willingness to be “creative,” he did express concern about Chicago’s potential loss of the 9 percent “amusement tax” if the Bears left the city.
According to the state’s website, chief co-signers of House Bill 610 include.
- Rep. Mary Beth Canty (D-Arlington Heights)
- Rep. Daniel Didech (D-Buffalo Grove)
- Rep. Lakesia Collins (D-Chicago)
- Rep. and Speaker Pro Tempore Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria).