Arlington Heights residents approve Bears' stadium, not tax incentives


A new poll found residents of Arlington Heights approve of the Chicago Bears' intentions to build a stadium, according to the Chicago Tribune.

However, a majority of the residents who were polled do not approve of offering financial incentives.

The topic of financial incentives came when a group called Americans for Prosperity created an "anti-corporate welfare" petition in attempt to halt financial incentives for new businesses moving to Arlington Heights. If the proposal gets signatures from 10 percent of the registered voters, the Village Board will be forced to consider it.

The poll, which was created by a self-described libertarian group, found 72 percent of residents are in favor of the Bears moving to Arlington Heights and building a new stadium. However, 68 percent of residents are not open to offering financial incentives (taxpayer money) to the Bears to facilitate the move. Around 300 people answered the poll. 

The first question of the poll asked voters to pick between “select treatment to giant, special companies,” or treating all businesses equally, according to the Tribune. The equal treatment of businesses received 64 percent of the votes. 

When talking of the plans for taxpayer issue, Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes is against the group and its proposal. His contention is the ordinance will bring malfeasance toward the area and its businesses as a whole, not just the Bears. 

Hayes is not opposed to offering taxpayer support towards the Bears to move to Arlington Heights, but mentioned back in early August it's a "last resort" option. He also mentioned he would do "anything in his power" to make sure the ordinance would not pass.

“We don’t think it’s something that’s in the best interest of the village,” Hayes said. “If something like this is enacted, then all those businesses are going elsewhere, and how will that benefit our residents?”

Americans for Prosperity Deputy State Director Brian Costin said in a statement residents “are sending a message to the village to end the continued flirtation with corporate welfare programs.”

Despite the refutes, the Bears are likely to build a stadium in Arlington Heights. The team bought the land back in September 2021 from Churchill Downs Inc. for $197 million. The organization is expected to close on the historic land in early 2023. 

The Bears are the fifth-most valuable franchise in the NFL, coming in at over a $5 billion valuation. Further, their revenue boosted nearly $200 million from 2020 to 2021. Seeing as the Bears are one of the wealthiest organizations in football, they may not need taxpayer help.

However, the specifics are entirely unknown, as the stadium's build is in the very early stages.

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