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Senate Passes Tax Breaks For Sears, CME Group

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Chicago Board of Trade (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Chicago Board of Trade (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — The state Senate has approved a package of tax breaks designed to keep retail giant Sears and Chicago’s main financial exchanges from leaving the state.

The bill creates tax relief for Sears and the CME Group — which threatened to leave Illinois without it — along with other companies. That proposal would cost the state about $150 million next year and $218 million the following year. CME runs the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Chicago Board of Trade.

The Senate also approved a separate bill that would increase tax credits for the working poor and raise the personal income-tax exemption.

The House approved the legislation Monday. Gov. Pat Quinn has said he would sign both bills.

The issue of corporate tax breaks dates back to January, when the Democrat-dominated General Assembly approved a $7 billion income tax increase. It also increased taxes paid by corporations.

Now, 11 months later, lawmakers are feeling the pressure as the Chicago-based CME Group and Hoffman Estates-based Sears Holdings Corp., the parent company of Sears and K-Mart – threatened to leave the state.

The only way they would stay, they claimed, was if the state cut them a deal.

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