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Group Mocks CME’s Financial ‘Struggle’ With Bake Sale

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Chicago Mercantile Exchange

Chicago Mercantile Exchange floor. (Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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UPDATED 06/13/11 10:19 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) – A group held a bake sale Monday morning, mocking the “struggling” Chicago Mercantile Exchange and its threats to leave the state because it’s losing money due to a tax hike.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser reports, the group, which is calling itself the Grassroots Collaborative, sold muffins outside the CME Headquarters, 20 S. Wacker Dr., beginning at 10 a.m.

Members say almost $1 billion in profits last year for the firm is apparently not enough.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Nancy Harty reports

The collaborative is made up of unions and activists, responding to CME Group executive chairman Terrence Duffy’s assertion that he might move the company out of state because of the hike in the corporate income take.

Duffy says the hike in the corporate state tax rate from 7.3 percent to 9.5 percent will cost about $50 million dollars this year.

The CME is joining a rebellion over the tax hike.

Peoria-based Caterpillar made headlines in March for a letter indicating that it might leave the state, but chief executive officer Doug Oberhelman decided to keep the company in following a meeting with Gov. Pat Quinn.

Later, Quinn offered Motorola Mobility $100 million in financial incentives to keep its corporate headquarters in Libertyville.

Navistar and Sears, Roebuck & Co., have also reportedly considered moving out of Illinois over the tax hike.

The CME Group donated $200,000 Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s campaign, and Emanuel has said he expects the firm to stay.

The firm has also given Gov. Pat Quinn nearly $100,000 in the last two years.

On Monday morning, Crain’s Chicago Real Estate Daily reported that CME also plans to sell and lease back two of the three buildings in the Board of Trade complex at 141 W. Jackson Blvd. – the historic main tower and the annex to the south. CME would keep ownership of the east building, which houses its financial derivatives office, Crain’s reported.

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