'Anti-corporate welfare' petition against Bears, Arlington Heights

·2 min read

'Anti-corporate welfare' petition against Bears, Arlington Heights originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

A petition was created to stop "financial incentive" towards helping the Chicago Bears build a new stadium in Arlington Heights, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The attempted ordinance was created by an organization called Americans for Prosperity in an attempt to maintain "equal treatment of businesses and good use of taxpayer dollars" within the village of Arlington Heights.

The organization calls the petition an “anti-corporate welfare ordinance." Mainly, it's calling for not using taxpayer money in such ways that would be destructive and unfair to the community.

The petition is not a direct slight towards the Bears' likely departure to Arlington Heights, but the building of the stadium would conflict with the petition's goals if taxpayer dollars were used to help create the stadium.

“We’re not opposed to the stadium being there if they play by the rules that are equal with every other business in Arlington Heights,” Brian Costin, the director of Illinois' Americans for Prosperity, said to the Tribune.

According to Costin, more than 300 people have signed the petition.

The municipal code in Arlington Heights says if one percent of registered voters (54,586 registered voters in Arlington Heights) signs the petition, then the proposal will be considered by the Village Board.

If rejected, the proposal would need 12 percent of registered voter signatures. In which case, the ordinance would go to a voting ballot as a binding referendum. If approved, the ordinance would take effect.

However, Mayor Tom Hayes is against the organization and its petition.

“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?”

Hayes affirmed tax dollars would be a "last resort" effort to accommodate the Bears' move out to Arlington Heights. He also mentioned he would do "anything in his power" to make sure the ordinance does not pass.

Perhaps a small speed bump in the road for the Bears' likely move to Arlington Heights. But, the situation will be monitored, as the petition already has half of the votes necessary for the proposal to be considered by the board.

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