Take Action: End the Corporate Welfare Curse in Arlington Heights and Protect Taxpayers

  1. Light up the phones! Call the Mayor and Village Board and tell them to support the Anti-Corporate Welfare Ordinance!•
  • Mayor Tomas Hayes – 847.259.6337 – thayes@vah.com
  • Trustee Richard Baldino – 847.504.7220 – rbaldino@vah.com
  • Trustee James Bertucci – 847.710.6772 – jbertucci@vah.com
  • Trustee Mary Beth Canty – 847.656.6062 – mcanty@vah.com
  • Trustee Nicolle Grasse – 847.533.4511 – ngrasse@vah.com
  • Trustee Robin LaBedz – 847.392.6195 – rlabedz@vah.com
  • Trustee John Scaletta – 847.545.0259 – jscaletta@vah.com
  • Trustee Tomas Schwingbeck (no phone number) tschwingbeck@vah.com
  • Trustee Jim Tinaglia – 847.253.0002 – jtinaglia@vah.com
  • Village Manager Randall Recklaus – 847.368.5100 – rrecklaus@vah.com

2. Attend the September 19th Village Board Meeting at 7:30 PM to support the Anti-Corporate Welfare Ordinance.

3. Share the Online Petition with your friends, and urge them to send a message to the village board.

4. Attend the Heartland Institute’s “Don’t Feed the Bears?” Debate on 9/28 in Arlington Heights

4. Circulate Phase 1 petitions. COMPLETE! With over 650 signatures submitted, it is clear that Arlington Heights residents are concerned over the curse of corporate welfare!

5. If you would like to volunteer, stay up to date, or have any questions/concerns please email Julian at JAguilar@afphq.org and we would be happy to get you plugged in!

This is a historical time for Arlington Heights and Illinois. Don’t miss your chance to make history by stopping corporate welfare and protecting the taxpayers by supporting the Anti-Corporate Welfare Ordinance.

POLL: Voters Strongly Oppose Taxpayer Funded Bears Stadium

“Mayor Hayes called AFP-IL’s Anti-Corporate Welfare Ordinance ‘extreme,’ but we don’t think a majority of Arlington Heights residents are extremists for wanting to end corporate welfare programs.”

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL — An ARW Strategies poll commissioned by Americans for Prosperity Illinois (AFP-IL) found Arlington Heights voters overwhelmingly support the Chicago Bears building a stadium in the suburb, but strongly reject any taxpayer financing of the project.

72% of Arlington Heights voters approve of the Chicago Bears plans to build a stadium in Arlington Heights vs. 18% who opposed. However, Arlington Heights strongly believe they shouldn’t be forced to foot the bill as taxpayers. When asked if the Village of Arlington Heights should support the project with taxpayer dollars 68% of voters disapproved of the idea, compared to only 22% support.

Opposition to using taxpayer money widened to 73%-21% when voters were made aware the NFL is the most profitable sports league in the world and it recently signed a $110 billion 11-year media deal.

The poll also found strong support for AFP-IL’s proposed Anti-Corporate Welfare Ordinance to prohibit the village of Arlington Heights from using taxpayer funds to help build a stadium and other corporate welfare programs by a 55%-30% margin.

View Poll Results Here

AFP-IL Deputy State Director Brian Costin released the following statement upon the release of the poll:

“Mayor Hayes called AFP-IL’s Anti-Corporate Welfare Ordinance ‘extreme,’ but we don’t think a majority of Arlington Heights residents are extremists for wanting to end corporate welfare programs. This polling shows Mayor Hayes’ views on corporate welfare are out of touch with large majorities of Arlington Heights voters.

“AFP-IL supports the Chicago Bears move to Arlington Heights, but only if they don’t expect a handout from the taxpayers. Arlington Heights residents strongly agree and through this poll are sending a message to the village to end the continued flirtation with corporate welfare programs.”

AFP Illinois introduces the Anti-Corporate Welfare Ordinance in Arlington Heights

Americans for Prosperity Illinois is currently engaged in a campaign to ban corporate welfare incentives in Arlington Heights as an integral part of the state-wide Prairie State Promise campaign to combat cronyism & corporate welfare.

Arlington Heights is currently considering subsidizing the construction of a massive new Chicago Bears NFL stadium and surrounding development at the Arlington Racetrack location.

Recently, Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes opened the door for taxpayer-financed subsidies saying, “We’re still in the process of evaluating what we might be able to do from a financial perspective. … We want to make this happen, so we’ll have to see what their needs and our abilities are, and try to balance the two.”

Per Section 2-204 of the municipal code of Arlington Heights, if a petition containing signatures exceeding 1% of the registered voters is submitted the Village Board must vote on it within 14 days. If the board votes the measure down, a 2nd petition containing signatures exceeding 12% of the registered voters can be submitted and, if verified, a binding referendum must be placed on the ballot.

Below is the proposed ordinance.


WHEREAS, the Village of Arlington Heights is a home rule municipal corporation in accordance with Article VII, Section 6(a) of the Constitution of the State of Illinois of 1970; and

WHEREAS, the Village has the authority to adopt ordinances and to promulgate rules and regulations that pertain to its government and affairs; and

WHEREAS, per Section 2-204 of the municipal code, upon a petition by at least one percent of the registered voters of the Village shall consider any proposal contained in the petition to amend, add to or delete from the general ordinances contained in the municipal code; and

WHEREAS, corporate welfare undermines the principles of equal rights enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, the Illinois Constitution, and the Arlington Heights municipal code; and

WHEREAS, a 2017 poll conducted by the University of Chicago’s Initiative on Global Markets found that 83 percent of the economists surveyed agreed, “Providing state and local subsidies to build stadiums for professional sports teams is likely to cost the relevant taxpayers more than any local economic benefits that are generated.”; and

WHEREAS, University of Illinois at Chicago Professor David Merriman reviewed more than 30 studies of TIF over several decades, and concluded that, “in most cases, TIF has not accomplished the goal of promoting economic development.”; and

WHEREAS, an August 2021 poll by Americans for Prosperity Illinois revealed 77 percent of Illinoisans oppose corporate welfare for political insiders, and support providing a level playing field for all businesses;


SECTION 1. RECITALS. The facts and statements contained in the preamble to this Ordinance are found to be true and correct and are hereby adopted as part of this Ordinance.

SECTION 2. BAN OF CORPORATE WELFARE PROGRAMS. The Village of Arlington Heights is prohibited from offering or extending any financial incentive to any business or corporation to operate in the village.

SECTION 3. DEFINITIONS. For use in this ordinance, “incentive” means any economic, financial benefit, or other incentives, including, but not limited to, those authorized under the Property Tax Code, the Counties Code, the Illinois Municipal Code (including, but not limited to, the Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act), or any other provision of law authorizing abatements, credits, loans or tax or fee reductions.

SECTION 4. EFFECTIVE DATE. This Ordinance will be in full force and effect from and after its passage, approval, and publication in the manner provided by law.




ICYMI: Don’t Make Bears Fans Pay for Another Corporate Welfare Scheme 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 15, 2021                                                              

ICYMI: Don’t Make Bears Fans Pay for Another Corporate Welfare Scheme 

ROLLING MEADOWS, IL – Today, the Daily Herald published an OpEd from Brian Costin, Deputy State Director for Americans For Prosperity – Illinois (AFP-IL), on the potential impacts of the Chicago Bears exploring a move to Arlington Heights, IL. Highlighting the corporate welfare incentives the city of Chicago has already provided to the Bears, Brian calls on Arlington Heights and other Illinois towns trying to lure the bears not to fall into the same trap that will raise taxes on Illinois families in the area.

Meanwhile, a couple of pieces of legislation have been drafted in Springfield to limit corporate welfare in Illinois.

Rep. Joe Sosnowski has authored the Local Government Business Anti-Poaching Act, which would prohibit municipalities or counties from offering any incentive to a business to move any part of its operations already located in Illinois.

Rep. Bob Morgan introduced the Phase Out Corporate Giveaways Intestate Compact in Illinois, which would create an agreement among states to phase out corporate tax giveaways to lure companies.

Check out the full OpEd in the Daily Herald here and see some excerpts below: 

…Beware, though: City officials are looking for ways to stick taxpayers with the expense of a new field. A quick trip through history shows why politicians will likely consider another corporate welfare scheme to pay for it. 

Soldier Field’s $660 million renovations in 2003, for example, were financed by the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, whose revenues come, in part, from hotel taxes and a combined $10 million in city and state subsidies. The state covered nearly $400 million of the total cost through bonds authorized by the ISFA, a toll on taxpayers made worse by the interest on our debt, over $46 million in 2021. 

Meanwhile, the Bears only paid $3.1 million in rent over the 2020 pandemic year. Bridgeview’s SeatGeek Stadium, opened in 2006, was similarly financed. In 2005, the Village of Bridgeview issued $135 million in general obligation bonds for the creation of the stadium. 

Of course, taxpayers ate the cost. Bridgeview’s bond rating fell to junk status in 2017 which, the S&P noted, “reflects our view that the village will continue to face acute business, financial, and economic uncertainties related to its debt burden, particularly the debt issued for its Toyota Park stadium,” the original name of SeatGeek.

…Arlington Racetrack is the second largest property taxpayer in the village, and losing that revenue could be prohibitive. The City of Chicago has already lost millions if not billions in tax revenue keeping the Bears at Soldier Field.

 Of course, there is nothing wrong with the Bears moving to Arlington Heights. The property would make a great field on which to play the Packers. But taxpayers shouldn’t eat the costs of that move. We already pay when we attend their games. 

But if lawmakers fail to stop corporate welfare schemes like we saw in Chicago and Bridgeview, Arlington Heights residents could end up paying twice.

For further information or an interview, reach Brian Costin at bcostin@afphq.org

Wasteful corporate welfare part of the fiscal problem in Illinois

The One Central Project in Chicago is a giant corporate welfare boondoggle that would hand over $6.5 billion in taxpayer money to private developers.
Brian Costin, deputy state director of Americans for Prosperity-Illinois, writes in a Chicago Tribune op-ed that the project could “exceed the total cost of all corporate welfare projects recorded in modern Illinois history” and “easily dwarfs the maligned payouts for Sears ($275 million) and Mitsubishi Motors ($249 million), which didn’t deliver on promises to taxpayers.”

How did this wasteful project get off the ground? As is so often the case, it began with well-connected interests making a pitch to all-too-receptive lawmakers, Costin explains.
While government funding might be in order if the project were a priority for the city or the region, no public agency had identified a need for it, and hundreds of transportation projects were ranked as more pressing.

“When the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning released its comprehensive regional transit plan in 2014, it announced 53 proposed major capital projects throughout the Chicagoland metropolitan area, totaling more than $80 billion in spending,” Costin writes.” None of those projects included anything in the vicinity of One Central.”
Illinois’ fiscal situation is already dire, with hundreds of billions of dollars in debt and a credit rating just above “junk” status. Decisions like this are part of the reason.
Read more about why the One Central project is a bad deal for Illinois taxpayers in Brian Costin’s Chicago Tribune op-ed.