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.
AN ORDINANCE BANNING CORPORATE INCENTIVES
ANTI-CORPORATE WELFARE 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;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE PRESIDENT AND BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE VILLAGE OF ARLINGTON HEIGHTS
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.