Statement from Make Wall Street Pay Illinois about the passage of SB 397 (CME/CBOE Corporate Welfare Bill)
December 13, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Make Wall Street Pay Illinois is deeply disappointed in the State Senate’s action today and we call on Governor Pat Quinn to veto this fundamentally flawed piece of legislation. SB 397 is a corporate welfare bill that sends Illinois’ budget and revenue priorities in the exact wrong direction.
To add insult to injury, CME Group and other large corporations demonstrated that they have the power to convene the entire state legislature. The only reason the General Assembly met yesterday and today was to pass this tax break. Do such massive corporate interests have more power than Speaker Mike Madigan, Senator John Cullerton or Governor Pat Quinn? The laid-off teachers, fire-fighters and social service providers deserve urgent attention but cannot call the legislature when things did not go their way in the legislature.
The increase in Earned Income Tax Credit and other measures to help small businesses, while notable, were saccharine pills inserted into a raw deal of a package for working and poor families in our state. While the General Assembly handed over $85 million in tax breaks to the 1%, it has provided $2.50 in average tax benefits per family to help the struggling 99%.
Many of CME and CBOE’s own actions in the middle of this debate are inexcusable. CME’s CEO Terrence Duffy testified to the legislature that his company could not guarantee that they would stay in Illinois if they didn’t get the tax break within a few days of his testimony, but also claimed that he was not threatening anybody and that he was “not here for a handout.” Meanwhile, employees in the Chicago Board of Trade building showered peaceful demonstrators at Occupy Chicago with McDonald’s job applications and held up “We are the 1%” signs.
Like many across the political spectrum, Make Wall Street Pay Illinois urges the General Assembly to take up the issue of corporate tax reform next spring. As the economic crisis continues in our state, we need to ensure that everyone is paying their fair share and that our government is making ends meet. These real and pressing needs – rather than the threats of a small number of corporations – should set the agenda for the General Assembly.
Make Wall Street Pay Illinois is a collaboration of: Illinois Peoples Action, Illinois & Indiana Regional Organizing Network, Lakeview Action Coalition, Northside POWER, National People’s Action and Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation (SOUL).