Occupy Chicago protesters are letting the governor know they’re against tax breaks for big businesses. As lawmakers are in Springfield to consider a package of tax breaks worth $250 million total, with $100 million of that going to CME Group, owner of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and to Sears, eight Occupy protesters were given an audience with one of the governor’s staffers Monday afternoon at the Thompson Center in Chicago.
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After the meeting, Occupy spokesman Micah Philbrook says the deal is bad, even if an increase in the personal exemption and the earned income tax credit are included. “I’m not OK with tax breaks at all. I think even if they put those additional provisions in there, all that does is say hey, little people, here’s a little bit of treats for you, but we’re gonna give the major portion of the candy to the big corporations, and that’s ridiculous,” he said. CME, based in Chicago, and Sears, based in Hoffman Estates, are threatening to move out of state without tax breaks. The proposal now under consideration would include $85 million in relief for CME group. They say Illinois unfairly taxes them on every single transaction, even ones that do not involve any buyers or sellers located in Illinois. The package also includes $15 million in tax credits for Sears. Philbrook calls the companies’ campaign for tax breaks “blackmail.” The tax break package is down in size from a once-proposed $850 million.