Chicago police arrest 15 protesting CME tax breaks

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 11, 2012 12:20 PM

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Police arrested 15 people blocking Chicago's main financial district on Wednesday as about 150 demonstrators protested tax breaks granted to CME Group by the state government.

The 15 people were issued tickets by police, who formed a ring around them with police tape and bicycles in a plaza next to the Chicago Board of Trade building.

Three of the demonstrators were in wheelchairs, and most were wearing signs on their chests saying, "CME: Give it back" or "Stop home care cuts."

The demonstration was staged just hours before the CME, the world's largest futures exchange company, holds its annual shareholders' meeting.

Late last year the Illinois legislature changed the tax code to cut about $85 million from CME's annual tax bill by 2014 after the exchange operator threatened to move out of state. The change also gave a $15 million tax break to Sears Holdings, which had also threatened to relocate.

The demonstrators object to the tax breaks and say that they led to cuts in Illinois social services such as home health care.

(Reporting By Ann Saphir and Tom Polansek; Editing by Greg McCune)