Paris on Politics: Gov. Pritzker 'open' to new Bears stadium if there's no downside to taxpayers

The Chicago Bears might have fumbled their first attempt to get state taxpayer help in building a new domed stadium on the lakefront, but it doesn’t mean the game is over.

In a wide-ranging exclusive one-on-one with "Paris on Politics," Governor J.B. Pritzker said he’s all for a new stadium, and didn’t close the door on some public financing if the Bears could make some guarantees.
"I’m very open," Pritzker said. "I would love to see something that works for the taxpayers. If the taxpayers can get a return, or at a minimum, you can make sure there’s no downside to the taxpayers of Illinois, then I’m all ears."
But Pritzker reiterated that the current plans put forth by the team failed to make the case for public benefit.

Bears President Kevin Warren has said the public benefit would come in the form of big national events that the city is missing out on now, like the NCAA tournament and the Super Bowl.
"That would be great, I hope they build that," Pritzker said. "Unfortunately, the calculation of what the return is for the state on being able to host those events isn’t anywhere near what the taxpayers would be putting forth, the risk taxpayers would be taking."
Pritzker said he might be more inclined to work with the team if they chose a location off the lakefront, like the Michael Reese Hospital site just south of McCormick Place in Bronzeville.
"I would like to see it help us with economic development in an area that needs it. That might be a real benefit," Pritzker said. "I really think these economic development projects, we should be thinking about where can we put them, especially something that needs public help, where it will have the most positive impact for people in the state of Illinois and city of Chicago."
The full interview with Pritzker covered a large range of topics, including his concerns about security at the upcoming Democratic National Convention, concerns about President Joe Biden’s age, and his own political future.