A new bill in Springfield aims to move the ball forward on the Chicago Bears’ plan to build a new stadium and entertainment complex in Arlington Heights.
The bill’s chief sponsor is state Rep. Marty Moylan, a Democrat from Des Plaines. Moylan claims to have “a lot of support” for the bill and is working to get the 60 votes needed for it to pass before the end of the legislative session next month.
One of the key elements of the bill is a $3 per person admission tax on all entertainment and sporting events within what the bill calls the Arlington Megaproject to help pay down debt related to the renovation of Soldier Field.
“Our $3 head tax would go strictly to the city of Chicago,” said Moylan. “We want to make the city of Chicago whole.”
Moylan said after explaining his proposal to lobbyists for the Bears, one of the lobbyists expressed reservations about the admissions tax. But Moylan dismissed those concerns.
“I said: Listen, it’s not going to cost the Bears anything,” Moylan said. “Tickets are going to range from a $100 to $600 — a $3 head tax is not going to affect them at all.”
The proposed legislation would also create an Arlington Megaproject Oversight Board and use state tax revenue from the project to help fund infrastructure improvements in Arlington Heights and neighboring communities.
Another key element of the proposal would be the implementation of a freeze on the property tax assessment for the former Arlington Heights International Racecourse site purchased by the Bears earlier this year for $197 million.
Moylan, who was the mayor of Des Plaines from 2009 to 2012, said his proposal is an attempt to revive negotiations after a previous bill had stalled.
“It was dead in the water,” Moylan said, “and the two sponsors (of the bill) admitted it. I think we have a real good chance (of passing the new bill) because I’ve been speaking to stakeholders and other legislators and they are excited about the changes that we made and they are excited about the chance to actually get something done. Because remember, this is a multibillion-dollar project. It’s going to be a big boon to the northwest suburbs.”