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Illinois governor’s office meets with Bears, calls their stadium proposal “a non-starter”

The Bears say taxpayers paying for a significant portion of their proposed new stadium would benefit the state of Illinois. The Illinois governor’s office isn’t buying it.

Top aides to Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker met with Bears officials on Wednesday, and afterward the governor’s office released a statement saying it does not support the Bears’ proposal.

“As the Governor has said, the current proposal is a non-starter for the state,” press secretary Alex Gough said in a statement after the meeting. “In order to subsidize a brand new stadium for a privately owned sports team, the Governor would need to see a demonstrable and tangible benefit to the taxpayers of Illinois. The Governor’s office remains open to conversations with the Bears, lawmakers, and other stakeholders with the understanding that responsible fiscal stewardship of tax-payer dollars remains the foremost priority.”

The Bears want about $2.3 billion in taxpayer money for their proposed stadium project, which would include building the stadium itself and major renovations to infrastructure surrounding the stadium. The mayor of Chicago supports the proposal, but without the governor’s support the Bears face a very uphill climb to get it done.