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’99 Percent’ vs. CME tax break

CME has been successfully bidding for the attention of Illinois politicians – and now regular folks are starting to notice.

On Tuesday, a statewide allliance is protesting at City Hall and then marching to State Senate President John Cullerton’s office to protest his legislation granting a $50 million tax break to CME, owner of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Chicago Board of Trade.

On Wednesday, a coalition of community and labor groups will launch a campaign to derail CME’s tax break – and press for a small financial transaction tax on CME trades – with a march on protest at the Chicago Board of Trade and a stand with Occupy Chicago.

“It’s a shakedown,” said Mehrdad Azemun of National Peoples Action, of the new tax break.  NPA is one of several regional and statewide networks of community and church groups that are joining to protest the measure on Tuesday.

“Corporations as large as these need to pay their fair share, especially at a time when every day brings news of more cuts to state and city programs, more police stations being closed.”

He points out that just a few years ago, CME threatened to leave – and then promised to stay, after it received a $15 million TIF subsidy and millions more in property tax breaks.

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A tale of two golf tournaments

While Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce holds its annual golf tournament at the Beverly Country Club, Stand Up Chicago will hold a “People’s Putt-Putt” downtown, on a course set up to show “how rich corporate executives and working Chicago families play by two very different sets of rules.”

The free event takes place from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday, August 15, outside the Thompson Center at Randolph and Clark.

A nine-hole miniature golf course will feature obstacles and enhancements showing “the ease with which corporate executives avoid paying taxes, reap special tax breaks, and generally enrich themselves with taxpayer money,” while “the rest of us [are left] stuck in sand traps of stagnant employment, low wages, unnecessary layoffs, and unfair foreclosures.”

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