Illinois lawmakers emphasize importance of collaboration in Bears' relocation talks

At a public hearing Wednesday on the Chicago Bears' proposed move to suburban Arlington Heights, Illinois lawmakers got down to some specific financial details.

The team issued a statement praising the "progress" of the negotiations.

Lawmakers said any vote on legislation related to the Chicago Bears' move out of Soldier Field couldn't come until next fall at the earliest, not least because suburban politicians must consult with rookie Mayor Brandon Johnson.

"I'm here to work with you. Let's make this thing happen. I wanna make the city whole and let's progress," said Rep. Marty Moylan.

Des Plaines Democrat Marty Moylan would give Chicago the proceeds of a $3 tax on every ticket sold to any event at a new Arlington Heights stadium, plus one dollar from a hotel room tax.  Chicago still owes more than a half-billion dollars for reconstructing Soldier Field 20 years ago, the last time the Bears threatened to leave town. 

What's different this time is that the team has already spent $197 million to buy the former Arlington Park horse track and declined to negotiate at all with former mayor Lori Lightfoot.


In a statement Wednesday, the Bears wrote that they are "encouraged by the progress n the Illinois General Assembly."

But the football team's owners and local school districts remain many millions of dollars apart on what the project's property tax bill should be. 

The Bears want a tax freeze as an incentive to relocate. 

Rep. Moylan says a panel that will negotiate this summer includes three northwest suburban mayors, a local park district and two local school districts.

"The school districts are happy with that formula because they know any incentive concerning their school district would have to be approved by them and also the mayors of surrounding communities," said Moylan.

The Bears wrote that they are "grateful for this spirit of continued negotiation."