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Quinn “not excited” about helping Cubs

Monday, Apr 9, 2012

* Gov. Pat Quinn has all but nixed the idea of any state tax money going to help the Cubs

Quinn told “The Don and Roma Show” on WLS that Illinois cannot afford to help the Cubs, “Well I’m not excited about that at all. Our State has severe fiscal challenges so the very idea of the State of Illinois spending millions and millions of dollars on Wrigley Field, I don’t think that’s in the cards at all. They bought the team and they should make the lion’s share of the investment to fix up the park.”

Considering the state’s tough times, that seems reasonable. But Mayor Emanuel is still working on a deal

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is reportedly in the final stages of talks to use city amusement tax revenue to help the Cubs renovate what is the second oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball. State approval would be needed to issue millions of dollars in bonds.

Last [week] in an appearance with Quinn at a Chicago Tribune forum, Emanuel talked about the economic benefits Wrigley Field brings to the city, and the state. Mayor Emanuel said, “It’s an important institution. Fourth most visited tourist site for the City of Chicago for the State. That said, it’s a private company, they bought it. They bought it in 2009 with eyes open, well aware.”

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


29 Comments
  1. - Cheryl44 - Monday, Apr 9, 12 @ 11:38 am:

    I thought the Ricketts were against this kind of bailout. At least the old man, and that was his money that bought the team.


  2. - dave - Monday, Apr 9, 12 @ 11:45 am:

    **Considering the state’s tough times, that seems reasonable.**

    Saying no to Sears and CME would have been reasonable as well. So much for reason…


  3. - Ahoy - Monday, Apr 9, 12 @ 11:49 am:

    “Fourth most visited tourist site for the City of Chicago for the State.”

    Is this the 4th most visited site by people outside of the State of Illinois?


  4. - Shore - Monday, Apr 9, 12 @ 11:49 am:

    I’m a diehard fan but they don’t deserve any public money at all. Absolutely none. “They’re an important institution” so are universities which need the money a lot more than the Ricketts family.


  5. - PQ's Primary Opponent - Monday, Apr 9, 12 @ 11:54 am:

    Wanna bet Rahm, and the Legislature have a different opinion on the Cubs than PQ????


  6. - Jeff Trigg - Monday, Apr 9, 12 @ 11:54 am:

    I’m in favor of a constitutional amendment that would forbid any government funds or resources being given to professional sports teams or entertainment in Illinois. The White Sox deals were beyond atrocious, which I why I like to call them the Welfare Sox. Support that, Quinn, along with a ban on any fringe benefits given to members of the Illinois Sports Facility Authority in these supposedly austere times. We have higher priorities than sports teams.

    If people don’t spend money at sporting events, they spend it at the movies or theater or other entertainment venues. The handouts are not worth the shuffling of economic activity.

    Go Cubs, and don’t take the welfare. Keeping their own amusement taxes instead of subsidizing the W-Sox with it, isn’t that bad I guess, though.


  7. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 9, 12 @ 11:59 am:

    Emanuel’s comments made it sound like a done-deal and he was softening up the ground. Quinn, quite reasonably, isn’t interested.

    Could that mean the Cubs and city have a deal that doesn’t include the state? Fine with me.

    Maybe it’s part of Emanuel’s razzle-dazzle infrastructure proposal that has everything but details on financing.


  8. - Robert - Monday, Apr 9, 12 @ 12:06 pm:

    Unlike a legitimate threat to move by Sears, the Cubs aren’t going anywhere. Main team in major market.

    So without a credible threat (unless people think they’re going to the suburbs), I don’t see why tax dollars would go their way.


  9. - Kilroy - Monday, Apr 9, 12 @ 12:07 pm:

    Springfield gets to pick winners and losers.

    That’s the great thing about doing business in this state.


  10. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 9, 12 @ 12:24 pm:

    1) Welcome back, all.

    2) The Ricketts - they are your friends who rave about their “vintage” car they bought, say the car needs “some work”, but “wow, look at what we got!”

    Talk to your friend in a month, “Wow, a lot of work to do. What a mess, and a piece of junk. We spent ‘X’ and now we have to double the ‘X’ we just spent to get the back to where we thought we bought it.”

    No sympathy for the Worse Owners in Chicago (Yes, worse than the McCaskeys.)

    Go check out that YouTube speech by Old Man Ricketts and the discussion he had with the “Kid” about buying the Ball Club. No Cash for the Spoiled Rich Kid and the Toy His Dad bought the “kids”. The Ricketts family is playing the fans, the city, the state, and advertisers for suckers.

    They have every right to try to make a dollar of the investment, but no “given right” to make that dollar of the taxpayers.

    Good Luck Ricketts.

    By the end of July, with your new Right Field Faux “Monster” Wall & JumboTron for advertisers … you will see a lot of fans dressed as Green Seats.

    Horrible!


  11. - Wensicia - Monday, Apr 9, 12 @ 12:32 pm:

    I think Ricketts and his staff should focus on providing a strong bullpen for the Cubs, instead of asking for financial help from taxpayers fed up with the team. You bought the team and Wrigley as a package deal; you fix them.


  12. - 47th Ward - Monday, Apr 9, 12 @ 12:36 pm:

    One of the proposals floated earlier was re-directing the Amusement tax for 30-40 years to pay down bonds. IIRC, that is a local tax, so Quinn might not have much say in it.

    On one hand, the Cubs are the only professional sports team in Chicago that hasn’t had a taxpayer-financed stadium deal. On the other hand, the Dodgers just sold for more than double what the Ricketts’ paid for the Cubs. Seems like maybe the market can figure this out and leave the taxpayers alone for a change.

    On the other other hand, some combination of Amusement tax-backed bonding would go a long way toward leveraging private debt-financed reconstruction. Simply put, in my estimation, this is a major rebuild, not a cosmetic remodel job. Maybe the Cubs would consider selling the field to the Park District and/or the State Sports Facilities Board in exchange for public money?

    Finally, at this point, the Ricketts’ family is “saving” more than $30 million in payroll this year. That would be a nice down payment on a stadium fund. And given the bullpen’s issue, neither Kerry Wood’s salary nor Carlos Marmol’s should be on the books next year, so there’s that.

    For the record, I think public money should be in the mix for the Cubs, if only as a matter of fairness given past support for the Bears, Sox, Bulls/Blackhawks.


  13. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 9, 12 @ 12:46 pm:

    - 47th Ward -

    ===…Bulls/Blackhawks====

    I think the Wirtzs and the Reinsdorfs paid for their entire building … If I recall.

    Bears … “Money. Well. Spent.” (snark)

    Still can’t host a Super Bowl, Final Four … but we got a “spaceship in the columns”

    Sox - Reinsdorf got his “cash cow” with the Illinois Sports Authority, but is the return on the “Cell” all the Sox and the State thought it would be? If the Cubs go under that unbrella, shouldn’t Illinois get a better shake from the Ricketts?


  14. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 9, 12 @ 12:56 pm:

    –Maybe the Cubs would consider selling the field to the Park District and/or the State Sports Facilities Board in exchange for public money?–

    In a heartbeat. They would love Reinsdorf’s deal, for example, lol.

    The whole Blago/Zell deal was to pass on liability and upkeep for the park to the sports facilities authority. That’s probably not a good deal for the taxpayers without the Ricketss putting some serious skin in the game.


  15. - 47th Ward - Monday, Apr 9, 12 @ 1:08 pm:

    ===I think the Wirtzs and the Reinsdorfs paid for their entire building … If I recall.===

    I think that’s right, except I believe the city gave them the land to build the United Center as well as parking lots. Call it an indirect subsidy, but a taxpayer subsidy nonetheless.


  16. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 9, 12 @ 1:13 pm:

    - 47th Ward -

    Noted.

    Along those lines … in that neighborhood, I don’t think the land used was in “High Demand” except to be vacant or depreciated … but Noted.


  17. - The Doc - Monday, Apr 9, 12 @ 1:26 pm:

    I’m not in favor of the concept of subsidizing any (desperately needed) Wrigley renovations, but would like to see Rahmbo’s proposal and justification for doing such.

    However, if you’re going to wax poetic on the miracles of the free market, you need to be prepared to relax or outright eliminate restrictions like the landmark designation.


  18. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Apr 9, 12 @ 1:33 pm:

    So, to recap:

    Republicans are against borrowing to pay off the money we already owe to the state’s nonprofit providers.

    Republicans are FOR borrowing to prop up the profits of a private company.


  19. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 9, 12 @ 1:38 pm:

    YDD

    Nah … In Illinois, and especially in the GA …We are against anything Madigan or Cullerton or Quinn wants …

    Eventually, we will be right.


  20. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Apr 9, 12 @ 1:56 pm:

    @Oswego-

    Like a broken watch, right twice a day.

    Someone remind me again what exactly is the Amusement Tax? And if its being used to pay off additional borrowing, won’t it either have to go up or the things it pays for now be cut? Or are we just ignoring algebra again?


  21. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Apr 9, 12 @ 1:57 pm:

    BTW, a better way to pay for Wrigleyville renovations is a parking or beer surcharge in Wrigleyville.


  22. - Chicago Bars - Monday, Apr 9, 12 @ 2:08 pm:

    YDD,

    If the Cubs want their own McPier MPEA tax to pay for Wrigley Field renovations, they can buy the neighborhood businesses and take their cut.

    Yes, Wrigley Field is a significant tourist destination, but it’s not a municipal or state authority and I don’t think it would be sane to create an Illinois precedent that privately owned ‘anchor businesses’ can get their own TIF district.

    But hey, hey if the Cubs want to open their books (over Bud Selig’s dead body) to public inspection, maybe there’s an honest debate to be had on the neighborhood pitching in to keep an American landmark vibrant for another half century.


  23. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 9, 12 @ 2:22 pm:

    All Chicago stadium deals have taken many years and much sturm-and-drang, even in flush times.

    This might take a while, Ricketts family. Welcome to the big leagues.

    The backstory on the relatively smooth United Center project included a Dollar Bill Wirtz smackdown of Michael McCaskey in Springfield.

    Wirtz, Reinsdorf and McCaskey had agreed to a two-stadium plan on the West Side connected to the Medical District.

    But McCaskey tried to backdoor a domed stadium at McCormick Place. When he found out, Wirtz bankrolled a Murderers Row of lobbyists to kill McCaskey’s deal.

    That fiasco set the Bears back 20 years on a stadium (and look what they ended up with).

    This might take a while, Ricketts family. Welcome to the big leagues.

    Actually, the Ricketts thought they had the Blago/Zell Wrigley deal as part of the sale. When it didn’t go down, they clutched and ended up paying less for the club because of the stadium liability.


  24. - mokenavince - Monday, Apr 9, 12 @ 2:28 pm:

    The Governor sounds like a true Sox fan,God Bless
    him for having some good sense.


  25. - IrishPirate - Monday, Apr 9, 12 @ 3:00 pm:

    Harry Truman once said that the Marine Corps has a larger PR operation than the Kremlin.

    Methinks Rahmster has a larger PR operation than the Marine Corps. At least he’s seemingly only concerned with “winning the news day” and not the long term future of the city.

    To paraphrase a long gone running SNL skit: “Remember voter, it’s better to look good than do good”.

    The Ricketts family family gives me rickets:

    Rickets is a softening of bones in children due to deficiency or impaired metabolism of vitamin D, magnesium,[1] phosphorus or calcium,[2] potentially leading to fractures and deformity. Rickets is among the most frequent childhood diseases in many developing countries.

    Methinks the taxpayers will feel a softening of the bones if Rahm gets his way on this. There’s a joke here, but I’m not going to make it.


  26. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Apr 9, 12 @ 3:02 pm:

    @wordslinger-

    Unless I’m mistaken, the Blago-Zell-Wrigley deal was caught on tape.

    That oughta set it back 30 years.


  27. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 9, 12 @ 3:23 pm:

    YDD, it’ll be interesting to see what Emanuel has been hinting at. As always, who pays what, for what, is the key.


  28. - 47th Ward - Monday, Apr 9, 12 @ 3:46 pm:

    ===That oughta set it back 30 years.===

    Not thirty, more like 12-14 years.


  29. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Apr 9, 12 @ 4:32 pm:

    @47th Ward

    Touche.

    If I were opposing this measure, I’d get Rod to write a letter to the editor in support.


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