Florida Governor Trying To Lure CME Group

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CBS) — In the wake of a threat by the CME Group to leave Chicago, Florida Gov. Rick Scott is now trying to lure the parent company of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Board of Trade to his state.

He is using the promise of lower taxes.

On his official Web site, Scott released a letter he wrote to CME Group executive chairman Terrence Duffy.

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Scott noted that Duffy had complained about a recent corporate income tax increase in Illinois from 7.3 percent to 9.5 percent, and said he was considering opportunities outside the state.

Scott wrote that he understood Duffy’s predicament.

“As a businessman myself, I know the frustration of spending significant revenue just to pay your company’s state taxes,” he wrote. “Imagine the growth your company could achieve if you could reinvest those additional state taxes to hire more employees and expand operations.”

He also pulled no punches in slamming Illinois as a bad state for business.

“Florida was recently named number three on Chief Executive Magazine’s list of best states to do business. Illinois ranked nearly last in the nation at number 48,” Scott wrote.

He also said employees of the firm would be better off, on since Florida has no state income tax and is a “right to work” state in which no one can be required to join a union. The letter suggested that those employees would be from Florida if the company moved.

“More than just a better business climate, we have a trained workforce that is ready to provide talent your company can benefit from, and we are focused on providing the best educated workforce in the country,” Scott wrote.

Florida has a corporate income tax rate of 5.5 percent, and Scott, a Tea Party favorite, has been pushing to repeal that tax so that Florida businesses would pay no corporate income tax to the state at all. So far, Florida lawmakers have resisted that effort.

Duffy said earlier this month that the CME Group might move because of the corporate income tax hike, which he said would cost about $50 million this year.

But shortly after Duffy’s remarks, Mayor Rahm Emanuel expressed confidence that some action could be taken to keep the CME Group in Chicago.

“I believe we have many years ahead of us – both of us – as city and the financial institution of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange growing ahead, and I’m confident they’ll see that what has been a successful relationship will continue to be a successful relationship,” Emanuel said on June 9.

The CME Group is the most recent in a slew of companies that have threatened to leave the state 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 Holdings Inc., have also reportedly considered moving out of Illinois over the tax hike.

The latest reports indicated that Sears had been inquiring about moving to the Washington, D.C., area.

  • iris

    All the cry babies who want to leave Illinois, let them. I’m sick of all these companies making threats to leave just to get their way. They know Quinn has no backbone so he will give in to the threats..

  • Jim

    Cry babies? Really? You don’t think it’s BAD business to bite the hand that feeds you? Personally, I am sick as heck of getting taxed to death by this statem this county and this city. I am currently considering”taking my talents” to North Carolina and I was born here, did my undergrad here and both of my masters. But it is just getting out of control.

    • Get the F out

      Why don’t you hurry up and leave rather than talking about it?

  • Joe Patroni

    There’s plenty of money in America to adequately fund our police, fire, schools, infrastructure and clear up all deficits. The politicians are afraid of the super wealthy. So they ask us working people to give up eveything that makes a civilized sooiety….Medicaid, Social Security, services. Pretty soon, the wealthy won’t have a court system (staffed by the middle class) to protect them or resolive thier business disputes and conflicts. Why do you think there are preditory gangs ripping off the wealthy on the Mag Mile? Just the beginning.

  • Matthew C. Shelley

    First off, I consider the threat to move and the talk of putting the building up for sale as posturing. Second, of all the potential states they could move to, Florida would be the last. There is an old saying in the commodity business “There is an honest futures broker in Florida, but nobody knows what the guy’s name is.”.

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