Bears Stadium

Why Illinois politicians are ‘skeptical' about Bears stadium plan in Chicago

The Bears unveiled a plan for a new stadium in the city on Wednesday

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The Bears revealed new details on their plan to build a new stadium on Wednesday. Shortly afterwards, Illinois Senate president Don Harmon responded.

“At first glance, more than $2 billion in private funding is better than zero and a more credible opening offer,” Harmon said in a statement. “But there’s an obvious, substantial gap remaining, and I echo the governor’s skepticism.”

Per the Bears presentation, they project their full stadium project will cost $4.7 billion. The team said it would contribute just over $2 billion, ask for $300 million from the NFL, and look to the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority for $900 million. That leaves a gap of about $1.5 billion, and the team would look for public money to make up the difference.

Meanwhile Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson was emphatic in saying there would be no new taxes for Chicago residents.

As Harmon alluded to, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he remains “skeptical” about the Bears proposal to build a new publicly-owned stadium in Chicago, before the presentation began.

“I wonder if it’s a good deal for the taxpayers,” Pritzker said. “It’s very important to me that, with all the state needs to accomplish, that we think about what the priorities are for the state… there are a lot of priorities the state has and I’m not sure that this is among the highest priorities for taxpayers.”

The Bears bought 326 acres of land in Arlington Heights last year, and previously announced plans to build a new stadium there. But contentious negotiations about property taxes in the suburbs have become an obstacle for that plan. Earlier this year the team said it was switching its focus away from Arlington Heights back to the city.

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