Could the Chicago Mercantile Exchange leave the state of Illinois? The Illinois General Assembly will meet in special session Monday to consider legislation aimed at providing a tax break for the CME to entice them to stay in Illinois.
Some downstate legislators are doubtful of the plan and one plan has already been rejected. Central Illinois Representative Bill Mitchell says he and most other downstate lawmakers feel big business shouldn't be the only ones to benefit from special tax breaks.
"It was defeated by a wide margin a week ago and the membership kind of revolted and said that there is some problems," Mitchell said. "There are 240,000 Chapter S corporations; their income taxes increased 67% and yet I don't hear anyone carving out special deals for those people, I don't hear anyone carving out deals for the average citizen."
According to Mitchell the new plan to be considered Monday incorporates changes to the state's Estate Tax and other moves aimed at garnering downstate support.
"They are putting some things in there that are important for downstate Illinois," Mitchell said. "A research and development tax credit is very important. Caterpillar put over $1 billion in research and development and most of it here in Illinois. Also the inheritance tax; Illinois reduced theirs to $2 million, which sounds like a lot of money but when you have ground going for $10,000 or even $13,000 it's not that much money. It's in the bill to raise it to $3.5 million , that's one put in there to get downstate votes."
Officials with the CME have said they are considering a move across the border to Indiana if they do not receive a tax break, a stance that Mitchell says is a shakedown that he's seen before. Possible destinations for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange include northwest Indiana and Indianapolis.