On the cusp of Opening Day, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said today that he is in the final stages of talks with Chicago Cubs owners regarding renovations at Wrigley Field.
“I’ll represent the taxpayers in whatever we do to enhance the value at Wrigley Field,” Emanuel said. “I will not put my money in their field so they can take their money and invest around the field.”
What the recent talks have focused on and how a Wrigley facelift would be paid for remains unclear.
In late 2010, the Ricketts family that owns the ballclub proposed using the amusement tax that the city of Chicago and Cook County levy on Cubs tickets, but the plan received little political support. The family has had ongoing conversations about public financing with Emanuel and members of the Illinois General Assembly.
Today, Emanuel said those talks have gone well, but insisted he will not “subsidize private investors with public dollars.”
“They should invest there. We’ve had good conversations. We’re in the final stages of that. But always remember that I’m here to represent taxpayers but I’m not here to subsidize private investors with public dollars.”
When asked whether an amusement tax would be part of a plan, Emanuel said, "Every piece fits together. I'll let you know the whole piece when we're ready. That doesn’t mean anything but what I said.
“All the pieces have to work together. My job is to represent the people of the city of Chicago and represent the taxpayers so whatever we do we get good value as stewards for the taxpayer investment,” Emanuel said.
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