Chicago exchanges: Tax breaks needed to stay put

By DAVID MERCER | November 25, 2011 | 3:00 PM EST

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago was shaped in part by commodities exchanges where contracts representing corn, wheat and hogs have changed hands for more than a century.

But two prominent exchanges are threatening to leave the state if Illinois doesn't change the way it taxes their trading.

State lawmakers are expected to convene Tuesday and to discuss a deal that would appease the CME Group Inc. and CBOE Holdings Inc., while meeting demands made by another Illinois mainstay, Sears.

Those who back the tax breaks say they'll help keep jobs in a state whose unemployment rate hangs just above 10 percent.

Opponents say the state simply can't afford to make such deals and question whether the companies would make good on their threats or whether they're simply exploiting the state's weak bargaining position.