Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (2/8)

February 8, 2023

PUBLIC HEALTH 

Chicago’s COVID-19 Risk is Low, Chicago Department of Public Health. 

ILLINOIS

Tax plan proposal that could aid Bears’ proposed Arlington Heights move faces pushback

Legislation that could ease the way for the Chicago Bears’ potential relocation to Arlington Heights is facing pushback from lawmakers across the state, specifically from Sen. Robert Peters (D-Chicago), whose district encompasses Soldier Field.

The bill (SB1391) filed Monday by Sen. Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights), would allow companies working on mega projects such as the proposed Arlington Heights Bears stadium to have their property taxes frozen for up to four decades, with the developer agreeing to pay an annual payment to local taxing bodies on top of property tax payments based on the frozen assessment. The idea is to create a financial incentive for major developments that would not occur without the assistance.

Under the proposal, the Bears would be required to invest a minimum of $500 million into converting the 326-acre former racetrack to a stadium and surrounding mixed-use development as well as be required to negotiate an annual payment to local taxing bodies to qualify for the tax incentives.

Sen. Peters – who has been vocal in his opposition of the Bears’ relocation from his district – expressed disappointment in the Bears’ handling of the issue, especially from owner Virginia McCaskey, who Peters says has supported conservative interests until it became possible to qualify for “government handouts.”

AROUND THE STATE 

Democratic lawmakers initiate push for $700 child tax credit: “After Congress failed to pass legislation extending the boosted federal child tax credit last year, a group of Illinois Democrats are taking the idea into their own hands and calling on the General Assembly to pass an annual tax credit in Illinois. Lawmakers introduced SB1444, which would establish a $700 tax credit for each child a family making less than $75,000 or less than $50,000 individually has. The children must be under 17 years old, but the legislation does not limit how many children parents can claim on the credit,” by the Daily Line.

Illinois Gaming Board set to take first step toward approving Bally’s Chicago casino: “The agenda for the board’s meeting Thursday indicates it will consider issuing ‘initial supplier licenses’ for two entities that control and would lease Medinah Temple on the Near North Side to Bally’s for its temporary casino. State records indicate both of the entities—Medinah Building LLC and Medinah Holdings LLC—are units of developer Al Friedman’s Friedman Properties,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

County board committees to consider environmental justice resolution, rezoning request for trucking depot in Stickney: “The Cook County Environment and Sustainability Committee will consider a resolution in support of environmental justice during a Wednesday meeting, while the county’s zoning committee is set to consider a map amendment to make way for a trucking depot in Stickney. County committees will also get a status update on the county’s guaranteed basic income program and could approve a resolution to compare the cost between merging or maintaining two separate software systems for property tax administration,” by The Daily Line.

CHICAGO 

MORE FROM CITY HALL 

DoorDash pours tens of thousands into Chicago municipal election campaigns, outspending similar apps: “The company behind one of the country’s largest food delivery apps has poured tens of thousands of dollars into Chicago’s municipal races to back incumbents and challengers alike at the same time as city lawmakers mull reforms which could give more power to drivers. Most of the company’s large donations, ranging between $2,500 and $10,000 contributions, have been made in City Council races that are or were contested before successful petition challenges kicked candidates off the ballot, though some candidates running unopposed also received large donations” by The Daily Line.

Aldermen approve resolution encouraging participation in Economic Census: “A City Council committee on Tuesday approved a resolution encouraging participation in the U.S. Census Bureau’s Economic Census. The Economic Census is conducted every five years and measures businesses nationwide and provides industry statistics and information on the national, state and local levels,” by The Daily Line.

In mayor’s race, ‘Chuy’ García floats property tax relief grants while Brandon Johnson unveils public safety plan: “U.S. Rep. Jesús ‘Chuy’ García on Monday pitched an emergency property tax relief program funded through taxpayer grants, while Chicago mayoral opponent Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson released a safety plan that he said would address root causes of violence,” by the Chicago Tribune.

Lightfoot scolds rivals during testy mayoral forum for trying ‘to mansplain’ and ‘treat me like I’m some child:’ “The debate included many personal attacks, mainly directed toward and between Mayor Lori Lightfoot and ex-Chicago schools boss Paul Vallas. Rep. Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia was in Washington for the State of the Union address,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

 Ranked Choice Voting In Chicago? System Would Save City Money And Be More Democratic, Alderman Says: “Ranked choice would allow voters to list candidates in order of preference — potentially eliminating costly runoff elections. Its supporters hope City Council will at least have a conversation about the system,” by Block Club Chicago.

FEDERAL 

Beltway Briefing: 2024 GOP Presidential Primary

Following months-long speculation she might throw her hat in the presidential ring, Nikki Haley – a former U.S. ambassador to the U.N and former two-term South Carolina governor, is expected to officially announce a White House bid on Feb. 15. So far, former President Trump is the only high-profile Republican who has formally announced a presidential campaign.

Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Rodney Davis, and Patrick Martin look at several widely floated contenders likely to challenge Trump and discuss the possibility of a crowded GOP presidential primary in 2024. And, as Democrats balk at negotiating on the borrowing limit while GOP pushes spending cuts, they also review the start of debt-ceiling discussion between President Biden and Speaker McCarthy, with the latter expressing cautious optimism they can come to a deal to avoid the first-ever default of the country’s debt.

Listen to the full Beltway Briefing here.

Cozen Currents: The State of the Union is …

  • The State of the Union address is typically a forgettable affair, but President Biden has reason to try to seize the moment as he embarks on his expected re-election campaign.
  • President Biden’s selection of Jeff Zients as the incoming White House chief of staff underscores the shift in his focus from passing his legislative agenda to implementing it as he gears up for the 2024 election.
  • The rapid development of artificial intelligence has made it a growing topic of interest for both Congress and the White House.

Read the Cozen Currents article here.

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