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‘Occupy Chicago’ Group Protests Tax Breaks For CME, CBOE

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Chicago Mercantile Exchange

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

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CHICAGO (CBS) – About “Occupy Chicago” 100 protesters marched on the offices of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and legislative leaders downtown Tuesday.

The demonstrators, marching under the banner of “Make Wall Street Pay-Illinois,” urged lawmakers to reject legislation that would grant tax breaks to CME Group Inc. and CBOE Holdings Inc., the corporations that operate the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board Options Exchange.

The legislation, sponsored by Illinois Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago), with the backing of Emanuel, would grant tax breaks on transactions. Some have estimated that bottom line savings could top $75 million a year.

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“They’re saying that they’re paying way too much on the transactions that are happening and that a lot of the transactions happen outside of Illinois, so that they shouldn’t have to be paying taxes on it, and we’re saying that’s a load of you-know-what,” said the Rev. Marilyn Pagan-Banks of the group A Just Harvest, who led the protest.

A Senate Executive Committee vote on the bill was postponed Monday. Protester Mehrded Azemun said he hopes the delay becomes permanent.

“Maybe they realize they’re being politically tone-deaf at this point in time, in the middle of this economic crisis and in the middle of this burgeoning movement that’s risen up around the country,” Azemun said. “We’re hoping that it’s defeated.”

CME and CBOE have threatened to move much of their operations out of state unless they get the subsidy. They contend that the state income tax, raised earlier this year, is unfair to businesses that may route orders through Illinois computers but serve customers worldwide.

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