Indianapolis courts owner of Chicago exchanges

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Executives from the company that owns the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Chicago Board of Trade met Friday with Indianapolis’ mayor as the city tries to lure the iconic firm away from Illinois.

A spokesman said Mayor Greg Ballard left a meeting in Wisconsin early to meet with CME Group Inc. executives just days after a package of tax breaks intended to keep the exchanges in place failed to clear the Illinois General Assembly.

“Anytime you would have an opportunity to attract a company like CME Group, obviously it would be a great thing for the city, for Indiana, for the state as a whole,” Ballard spokesman Marc Lotter said, adding that the city and state have been talking with CME for months.

Lotter declined to provide details on the talks, as did Laurie Bischel, a spokeswoman for CME Group.

“I can’t comment; I can just confirm that there were meetings,” Bischel said.

The mayor, in a message Friday evening on Twitter, said he was meeting was a good one. “Today’s meeting w/the CME went well. Thanks for your enthusiasm and support,” the message said.

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said talks continue over the tax breaks.

“We’re continuing to work with all sides to reach a bipartisan agreement,” Brooke Anderson said by email.

The measure’s sponsor, Rep. John Bradley, did not return a call seeking comment.

CME Group and CBOE Holdings Corp., which owns the Chicago Board Options Exchange, have threatened to leave Chicago over what they believe are disparities in Illinois tax code that unfairly inflate their tax burdens.

They’re two of a handful of prominent Illinois-based companies, including Sears Holdings Corp. and Caterpillar Inc., that have talked about their options outside the state since the corporate income tax was raised in January.

The state Senate passed a tax-breaks passage this week, but it failed in the House. Legislative leaders said they were determined to work out a deal.

The measure would provide breaks for the two exchanges and Sears, as well as a research-and-development tax credit supported by Caterpillar and breaks for low-income residents of Illinois.

The Board of Trade, where futures trading originated, was founded in 1848. Its building is a downtown Chicago landmark. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange was founded in 1898, as the Chicago Butter and Egg Board.

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