The St. Louis Bears? A New Wrinkle In The NFL Stadium Game

The head of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce is threatening to move the team.

How does the name of the National Football League’s St. Louis Bears sound? A warning has come from Todd Maisch, the president of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, that Illinois politicians better give the owners of the Chicago Bears tax breaks and tax incentives to help facilitate the move of the business from Chicago to the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights, Illinois. “I think it needs to happen by the end of this session. If not, you’re going to start to have other states make their cases on why the Chicago Bears should be the St. Louis Bears. That’s just the reality of the world. And people may not like it, but everybody wants the Chicago Bears to remain the Chicago Bears. It can get a little messy. But I think we’re going to reach a positive balance.” Maisch is an unlikely character to rattle the sabre in the stadium game. Generally it is the league commissioner who does that kind of work for a team owner.

Chicago Bears ownership has an option to buy the Arlington International Racecourse property and the business wants to close on the deal in the very near future. The Bears ownership needs to find sources of revenue to build a stadium-village with the Bears facility the center of the development. The business is looking for a handout from Illinois politicians who at this point are not too keen in helping a private business worth billions of dollars. The Bears ownership has settled on pushing a PILOT incentive which is short for payment in lieu of taxes which apparently does not exist in Illinois. Simply, Bears ownership would pay a set fee instead of paying property taxes and that fee would be less than what the property is worth on the tax rolls. The Illinois stadium game is underway.

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