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Tax Breaks For CME Group, Sears To Be Discussed After Thanksgiving

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports
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Illinois State Capitol

Illinois State Capitol buillding in Springfield (AP Photo)

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — Tax breaks for a few big businesses could get a vote in the Illinois General Assembly after Thanksgiving.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports, lawmakers will return on Nov. 29, after they failed to vote on a tax break that would help companies such as Sears and CME Group.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports

The companies have been threatening to leave Illinois over a hike tax hike approved this year, which jacked the corporate income tax up from 7.3 to 9.5 percent.

At a state House committee hearing Wednesday, state Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion) discussed with Illinois Revenue Director Brian Hamer what the CME Group is seeking.

“The proposal, as I understand it, would change the apportionment factor to provide some relief to the exchanges, but obviously has a negative consequence to the Illinois revenue estimates in the state budget,” Bradley said.

“Absolutely,” Hamer said.

A state Senate Committee has approved a tax break for the exchanges that changes the way derivates traded online are taxed. Currently, 100 percent of online derivatives are taxed, and a pending measure sponsored by Cullerton would cut that to about 28 percent.

At the hearing, Hamer was asked whether the proposal was fair.

“In my personal view, this proposal is largely motivated by the desire to retain CME and the other exchanges in Illinois,” he said.

Terrence Duffy, executive director of the CME Group, warned lawmakers last week that if they did not hurry up and move on a tax break, his company would explore moving the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade out of Illinois.

Duffy said in June that the firm would lose about $50 million this year from the tax hike.

CBOE Holdings Inc., the parent company of the Chicago Board Options Exchange, has also discussed leaving the state over the tax hike.

Also looking for tax relief is Sears Holdings Corp., the parent company of Sears stores, which confirmed last month that it is in discussions about two prospective sites that are not in Illinois over the corporate tax hike. Reports said the two sites are in Austin, Texas, and Columbus, Ohio.

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