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Options traders sneer at the Millionaires Bake Sale for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange
(see the Flickr slideshow)

Organizations representing working people—led by the Grassroots Collaborative with the Chicago Teachers Union, Service Employees International Union, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless and others—held a “bake sale” for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME). The CME recently threatened to leave Chicago because they were not making enough profit due to a “bad business climate” in Chicago.

Chicago has given some $32 million to the CME. That includes $15 million in TIF money (although the CME is hardly “blighted” as TIF districts are supposed to be). An estimated $7.6 million of that TIF money comes from Chicago Public Schools. In receiving this TIF subsidy, CME promised they would stay until 2017, not only keeping the current level of employees, but adding 638 more positions.

Chicago also gave CME a special Property Tax break of $17 million in 2004. That year the City Council lowered CBOT’s property taxes “by a total of approximately $17 million over 12 years beginning in 2006.”

Chairman of CME Group, Terrence Duffy, made a profit of $4.6 million and says that CME is considering a move, completely disregarding the subsidies and tax breaks that we, The People of Chicago, gave to them. According to the CME’s annual report, last year they made a profit of $951 million dollars, a 15% increase above the previous year.

CME is the world’s largest futures trader.  When corporations talk about a bad business climate and needing more taxpayer money, we get left with nothing but a bad climate for working families.  Corporations and banks must pay their fair share, for good jobs, quality public schools, and affordable housing for all.