WBEZ | CME Group http://www.wbez.org/tags/cme-group Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Navistar layoffs add to doubts about incentives http://www.wbez.org/content/navistar-layoffs-add-doubts-about-incentives <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-December/2011-12-23/AP05060901633.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="The workers helped design International brand trucks. (AP/File)" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-23/Navistar_truck_SCALED.jpg" style="margin: 9px 18px 5px 1px; float: left; width: 308px; height: 207px;" title="The workers helped design International brand trucks. (AP/File)">Sears Holdings Corp. and Chicago’s financial exchanges have quit threatening to pull up stakes now that Illinois has enacted tax breaks for them. But it remains unclear whether state incentives to big companies are wise uses of economic-development resources. A personnel shift by Lisle-based Navistar International Corp. will add fresh doubt.</p><p>WBEZ has learned that some new jobs Navistar promised under an Illinois incentive agreement are coming to the state at the expense of unionized workers in Indiana.</p><p>Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn announced the Navistar incentives last year after the company threatened to pack up its headquarters in west suburban Warrenville and leave the state. The deal committed Illinois to a $64.7 million bundle of tax credits and job-training subsidies for the company. It committed Navistar to moving the headquarters to Lisle, a couple miles east, and to adding 400 full-time Illinois employees.</p><p>Navistar’s first report to the state about the jobs isn’t due until next year, so it’s hard to tell how many positions the company has created thus far. Employees confirm that dozens of new engineers and designers are working at the Lisle facility.</p><p>Navistar is creating those jobs as it phases out its Truck Development and Technology Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana, just three hours southeast of Chicago. The latest Fort Wayne cuts came December 2, when the company laid off 130 employees, mostly engineers and designers who are United Auto Workers members. Before the layoff, some of the Fort Wayne workers had to help train their Lisle replacements.</p><p>Navistar has “rewritten the job descriptions so the people that used to do the work here — the union folks — don’t qualify anymore on paper,” said Craig Randolph, a design engineer the company laid off after 15 years at the Fort Wayne center. “So they’re eliminating the high-seniority, older employees like myself and replacing them with nonunion college kids — guys fresh out of school. And the taxpayers in Illinois are subsidizing the whole thing.”</p><p>Asked for a response, Navistar spokeswoman Karen Denning called it unusual for engineers to have union representation in the first place, a claim disputed by auto industry experts. Denning also sent a statement that said the company’s decision to shift the Fort Wayne jobs to Lisle was “based solely on our desire to compete in the global economy.” The statement added that Navistar has allowed many Fort Wayne employees to relocate to the Chicago area and stay with the company.</p><p>The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity sent a statement that doesn’t directly address whether the Navistar incentives have anything to do with the Fort Wayne layoffs. The statement says the state’s assistance to companies like Navistar over the last decade has “created and retained tens of thousands of jobs,” including unionized positions.</p><p>There’s not much proof to back up such claims. Scholars who study the effects of corporate incentives point out that companies decide where to operate based on proximity to suppliers, markets, transportation and so on. Another factor is whether workers are bargaining collectively. Just this summer, Navistar announced it was closing a unionized plant in Chatham, Ontario. The company has moved that work to nonunion facilities in Texas and Mexico.</p><p>“I don’t think that the [Illinois] incentives are causing Navistar to shift around its workforce,” said Rachel Weber, an associate professor of Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “But they do send a message that the public sector and taxpayers are validating these kinds of activities. And, if you asked a lot of taxpayers in the state of Illinois whether they’d want to support these kinds of activities, I don’t think they’d be so happy about it.”</p><p>Weber pointed out that the economies of Illinois and Indiana intertwine closely and said it would help both states to quit poaching jobs from each other. Eliminating state incentives for corporations, she added, would free up resources for everything from workforce readiness to small-business incubation.</p><p>The union, for its part, didn’t return calls about the Fort Wayne layoffs and isn’t creating a public fuss about them. That raises questions about the role of UAW Secretary-Treasurer Dennis Williams, who serves on Navistar’s board of directors under a decades-old agreement that reserved the seat for the union. Because Williams draws salaries from both the UAW and Navistar, and because he once directed a UAW region that includes Illinois but not Indiana, some of the union’s Fort Wayne members accuse him of hanging them out to dry.</p></p> Fri, 23 Dec 2011 16:22:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/content/navistar-layoffs-add-doubts-about-incentives Sears, CME tax breaks on way to governor http://www.wbez.org/story/sears-cme-tax-breaks-way-governor-94871 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-December/2011-12-13/3999360929_70a9e9f64d_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Two weeks after a tax-break bill went down in flames, legislation giving two Illinois companies relief is on its way to Gov. Pat Quinn.</p><p>The Senate passed a bill today giving Sears and CME Group tax breaks after they threatened to leave the state. Quinn is expected to sign it.&nbsp;</p><p>Lawmakers took two extra trips to Springfield and eventually split the bill into two parts in order to get it through. Low-income, working families also will get some relief through bigger tax refunds. The package will cost Illinois about $350 million annually.</p><p>House Democratic Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, who co-sponsored the bill, said as long as other states keep trying to lure-away Illinois business, companies will continue to ask for special tax breaks in Springfield.</p><p>"Do we respond or do we just say, good-bye? Or do we even call their bluff? I mean, sometimes I think we should start calling the occasional bluff and say wait a minute, is this for real because the costs of moving are certainly significant," she said.</p><p>Currie said the bill that helps Sears and CME includes accountability measures to make sure the companies only get the relief if they stay put.</p><p>For Sears, the extension of a special taxing district will continue for another 15 years. CME Group called for tax relief after lawmakers raised the corporate income tax rate in January.</p><p>Both firms said they would consider moving to another state if legislators couldn't strike a deal to keep them.</p></p> Tue, 13 Dec 2011 21:44:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/sears-cme-tax-breaks-way-governor-94871 Illinois Senate to weigh revised tax-break plan http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-senate-weigh-revised-tax-break-plan-94865 <p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Under pressure to act quickly, the Illinois Senate is scheduled Tuesday to consider tax relief for some big-name companies threatening to leave the state. The proposal is part of a $330 million package sweetened by aid for smaller businesses and struggling families.</p><p>CME Group Inc., which operates the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Sears Holdings Corp., has been urging lawmakers to take action before the end of the year. Along with the trading company CBOE Holding Inc., CME has threatened to move to different states unless Illinois helps cut its tax bills.</p><p>The Senate is scheduled to meet a day after the tax package passed the Illinois House. The Senate has approved similar legislation in the past, so the latest version is likely to get the chamber's stamp of approval.</p><p>Some House members were dubious about responding to threats from businesses, and protesters in the House gallery on Monday unfurled a banner saying "Stop Corporate Extortion." Their timing was off, though: They displayed the message while lawmakers were debating tax breaks for individuals.</p><p>House approval marked a dramatic turnaround. Just two weeks ago, a similar package failed 8-99, with some lawmakers demanding more relief for poor families and others opposing any help for the poor.</p><p>This time, backers split the proposal into separate bills, one dealing with corporate taxes and the other with personal taxes. Each bill then passed because the two groups of opponents were voting against different bills. The business measure passed 81-28. Tax relief for families passed 67-49.</p><p>Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn called the package "a win for the people of Illinois" because it would help business while also offering some relief to families.</p><p>The financial exchanges had appealed for lower taxes by arguing that it's no longer appropriate for the state to tax every one of their transactions as if they take place on a Chicago trading floor. Most are now handled electronically and do not involve buyers or sellers in Illinois.</p><p>Under the proposal headed for the Senate, the exchanges would be taxed on just 27.54 percent of their revenue, a somewhat arbitrary figure legislators said should be re-examined later. The change should save the companies about $85 million a year.</p><p>CME employs about 2,000 people in Illinois. If the company were to move, most of those jobs would move, too, but executives say the trading floors for the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange would stay.</p><p>Sears would be granted an extension of an economic development credit it has been getting for years. It would save $15 million a year for the next 10 years. A break on local taxes for its headquarters in the Chicago suburbs would also be renewed. Sears called the House vote a "major step" and said it hoped the Senate would follow suit.</p><p>Losing the Sears headquarters would cost Illinois about 6,000 jobs.</p><p>Lawmakers also approved $2 million in tax breaks to encourage production of live theater in Chicago and $350,000 a year in credits for Champion Laboratories Inc., a southern Illinois company that is moving to the Chicago suburbs.</p><p>For businesses in general, the package includes a research-and-development credit, a more generous method of writing off losses, extension of a tax break for ethanol and an expansion of what property is exempt from estate taxes. The cost of these measures would be roughly $120 million a year.</p><p>Critics fear the corporate tax breaks will take scarce dollars away from state services.</p><p>The Service Employees International Union asked why CME Group needs tax relief when it is making huge amounts of money — $316 million in the most recent quarter alone.</p><p>The tax breaks for families would cost the state about $110 million a year and come in two forms.</p><p>One is an increase in the personal income tax exemption. It now stands at $2,000, which means for every person in a household $2,000 is exempt from state taxes. The new legislation would raise that to $2,050 and require it to rise each year with the rate of inflation.</p><p>The other tax break is an increase in the state's earned-income tax credit, which helps the working poor hang on to more of their money. The credit is now 5 percent of the federal tax credit. The House action would raise that to 10 percent.</p><p>House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago, said the increase means a single mother making minimum wage and raising two children would see her $400 state tax bill cut to $259. That money goes back into the economy and helps Illinois businesses, she said.</p><p>"This is not money people are going to sit on. It's money they are going to spend," Currie said.</p></p> Tue, 13 Dec 2011 18:52:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-senate-weigh-revised-tax-break-plan-94865 Senate set to vote today on Sears, CME tax relief http://www.wbez.org/story/senate-set-vote-today-sears-cme-tax-relief-94844 <p><p>CME Group and suburban-based Sears are one step closer to getting the state tax breaks meant to persuade them to stay headquartered in Illinois.</p><p>On Monday the Illinois House approved a new tax relief package after it resoundingly rejected a similar measure last month. Now the House-endorsed plan moves to the Senate, where it's scheduled to be voted on Tuesday.</p><p>The Senate approved a similar bill last month. Speaking last week, Senate President John Cullerton said he didn't expect anything different this time around.</p><p>"We've already passed the bill with 36 votes, three-fifths vote in the Senate, bipartisan vote," said Cullerton last week. "The House did not pass it, so when the House does what they should do, then we'll react."</p><p>After the House vote Monday, a spokesman for Cullerton said the senator is optimistic about the tax plan's chances in the Senate.</p></p> Tue, 13 Dec 2011 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/senate-set-vote-today-sears-cme-tax-relief-94844 Illinois House approves tax relief for businesses, including CME Group, Sears http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-house-approves-tax-relief-businesses-including-cme-group-sears-94838 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-December/2011-12-12/3999361043_32e3021f30_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><P>SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois House has approved tax breaks for businesses, including some big names that are threatening to leave the state.</P> <P>In a special session Monday, the House approved two bills as part of the package. One includes breaks for Sears and financial exchanges such as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, both of which have threatened to relocate out of state. It also includes broader tax breaks, like a credit for research and development and a more generous method of writing off losses.&nbsp; The second bill, which also passed, is intended to help poor and middle-class families partially&nbsp;through an increase&nbsp;of the earned income tax credit.</P> <P>Speaking before the vote, Republican Rep. Roger Eddy said the&nbsp;tax relief package will help the state's business environment.</P> <P>“It does have enough in it that I believe we should support it, if for nothing else that it begins to turn this state in the direction that we need to turn to create that positive environment,” said Eddy.</P> <P>The corporate tax&nbsp;legislation passed 81-28 Monday, while the personal tax credits passed 67-49.&nbsp; State Rep. Jason Barickman voted against both bills, arguing the corporate tax breaks didn't go far enough to help all Illinois businesses.</P> <P>“You have to wonder what kind of a tax policy this is where government is involved in cherry picking winners and losers at the candid expense of everyone else,”&nbsp; said Barickman.</P> <P>The Senate is scheduled to vote on the two bills Tuesday. It approved a similar relief package last month.</P></p> Mon, 12 Dec 2011 20:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-house-approves-tax-relief-businesses-including-cme-group-sears-94838 Cullerton confident tax relief package will pass http://www.wbez.org/story/cullerton-confident-tax-relief-package-will-pass-94789 <p><p>Illinois Senate President John Cullerton said he doesn't expect any problems passing a new tax relief package this week.</p><p>The state House of Representatives is scheduled to meet on Monday to vote on a new package aimed at keeping area-based Sears and CME Group in state after it failed to pass a similar package last month.</p><p>The Senate is scheduled to vote on the tax package Tuesday, though it passed its own version last month.</p><p>Senate President Cullerton said he's confident the House will pass the package this time.</p><p>"[The Senate] didn't go down on Monday because we're going to wait and see what they do on Monday," said Cullerton. "And when they pass the bill, on Tuesday we'll repeat what we've already done."</p><p>Lawmakers have said the package will be split into to two bills, one with the corporate tax breaks and another providing tax relief to low-income families.</p></p> Mon, 12 Dec 2011 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/cullerton-confident-tax-relief-package-will-pass-94789 Cross says deal reached on CME-Sears tax break package http://www.wbez.org/story/cross-says-deal-reached-cme-sears-tax-break-package-94750 <p><p>Illinois House Republican Leader Tom Cross says a deal has been reached on a tax break package to keep locally-based Sears and CME Group in Illinois.</p><p>The announcement came on Thursday, a few weeks after the House overwhelmingly rejected a similar package.</p><p>A spokeswoman for Cross said the newer version of the package breaks the deal into two bills. One addresses changes to corporate taxes, including increasing the estate deduction from $3.5 million to $4 million by 2013. The other is meant to help low income families through an increase to the state earned income tax credit.</p><p>“We have come to an agreement on a jobs package that will give some relief to a broad base of businesses in our state," said Cross in an emailed statement. "This package will allow businesses to plan on longer term research and development and the ability to carry their losses forward in a tough economy.&nbsp; It will also lessen the tax burden on our family farmers and small businesses. We must continue this broad based approach to retaining and growing jobs in Illinois.”</p><p>Lawmakers are scheduled to reconvene in Springfield next week for a special session to address the tax break package. The House will meet on Monday, and the Senate will follow on Tuesday.</p><p>Both Sears and CME Group have threatened to leave the state as a result of this year's corporate tax increase.</p></p> Thu, 08 Dec 2011 23:44:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/cross-says-deal-reached-cme-sears-tax-break-package-94750 Emanuel pushes for passage of state tax incentives http://www.wbez.org/story/emanuel-pushes-passage-state-tax-incentives-94695 <p><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he's staying involved in getting the state's major tax package passed. Last week the tax package including incentives for the CME Group was shot down by the Illinois House of Representatives.</p><p>"I'm working with the legislature and been on the phone regularly to encourage them to continue to stay at this and I know the difficulties - but get this done," Emanuel said in a news conference Wednesday.</p><p>Emanuel said keeping CME in Chicago is critical to the city's economic vitality. He's also in favor of passing the bill's proposed earned income tax credit for the working poor.</p><p>Lawmakers are talking about splitting the bill into several pieces and voting on them separately.</p><p>A special House session on the bill has been called for Monday.</p></p> Thu, 08 Dec 2011 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/emanuel-pushes-passage-state-tax-incentives-94695 Quinn 'optimistic' about future of tax break package http://www.wbez.org/story/quinn-optimistic-about-future-tax-break-package-94560 <p><p>Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said he's optimistic about passing a tax deal for some area businesses by the end of the month.</p><p>Earlier this week, lawmakers failed to pass a $250 million tax break package meant to keep Chicago-based CME Group and Sears from leaving the state. A tax package passed the senate, but a slightly different version with fewer incentives for individual taxpayers was overwhelmingly rejected by the House.</p><p>Quinn said the Senate's approval is encouraging.</p><p>"I think that's a good sign, and I think we can build on that," said Quinn. "Hopefully we can get the house to vote in favor, and I'll sign it into law."</p><p>Quinn said small changes could be made to the bill.</p><p>A special legislative session is currently not scheduled before the end of the year.</p></p> Fri, 02 Dec 2011 21:44:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/quinn-optimistic-about-future-tax-break-package-94560 State lawmakers push for tax relief package http://www.wbez.org/story/state-lawmakers-push-tax-relief-package-93780 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-04/P1040013.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Legislative leaders in Illinois are trying to put together a tax relief package to keep some big companies in Illinois.</p><p>They have until Thursday to pass a bill that could give more tax incentives to companies like Sears and Chicago-based CME Group, which have threatened to leave the state since the corproate tax increase went into effect at the beginning of this year.</p><p>Senate President John Cullerton says he'll meet with his fellow Democrats early this week to outline some points leaders of both Democrat and Republican leaders say they want included in the package. Cullerton says the final deal should include tax breaks for both businesses and individuals.</p><p>"We need a more progressive tax system," said Cullerton, "so those principles will all need to be embodied in a bill, and we're working on those negotiations."</p><p>Cullerton and other legislative leaders met with the governor twice last week to discuss the potential tax package.</p><p>Week two of the veto session is scheduled to begin Tuesday.<br> &nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 04 Nov 2011 21:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/state-lawmakers-push-tax-relief-package-93780