Chicago, Illinois, Utah Politicians Need To Pony Up Billions For MLB Venues

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The spending continues and continues.

The race to get the most public money from taxpayers for sports venues has picked up. Initially it was thought that Major League Baseball’s Chicago White Sox’s owner, the 87-year-old Jerry Reinsdorf, was looking for about $1.7 billion in state and local aid in his attempt to build a new stadium-village closer to downtown Chicago. Now it appears that is not enough money for Reinsdorf who in the late 1980s pitted Chicago and Illinois politicians against St. Petersburg and Florida politicians in a battle to build him a new stadium for his business. Reinsdorf is at it again three decades later looking for what is now believed to be $2 billion in public money. Reinsdorf is warning that without the public money for the stadium-village someone else will move the team. It will not be him. Some big money people would purchase the business and move it to a smaller market that would not yield as much television and streaming revenue. The stadium would cost $1.1 billion and if a Chicago hotel-motel tax is extended that would cover the cost of the venue construction. But there is also a $900 million tab that must be paid for infrastructure. While Illinois politicians dither another set of politicians in Utah are ready to spend money to build a Major League Baseball stadium for a non-existing team as long as that non-existent team materializes by 2034.

House Bill 562 Utah Airpark Area Investment and Restoration District, sponsored by Ogden Republican Representative Ryan Wilcox would increase the Transient Room Tax by 1.5 percent for hotel-motel rooms and car rentals to help pay for the stadium. The proposed Salt Lake City area venue would get $900 million from that revenue stream. The bill also creates a Utah Airpark Area Investment and Restoration District. The arms race continues in professional and college sports with no end in sight.

Jerry Reinsdorf feels his present White Sox stadium is antiquated.