Scott makes pitch to lure Chicago Mercantile Exchange
How does the Miami Mercantile Exchange sound? Pretty good to Gov. Rick Scott, who has written a letter and made phone calls attempting to lure the Chicago Mercantile Exchange away from its Windy City home for the past century.
Scott is jumping on a quote from CME Chairman Terrance Duffy, who reportedly expressed concern about a 30 percent corporate income tax hike in Illinois. "We don't want to leave Chicago," Duffy was quoted by the Wall Street Journal, but "we have to do what's right for our shareholders."
Here is Scott's letter:
June 16, 2011
Mr. Terrence Duffy
Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Group
20 S. Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60606
Dear Chairman Duffy:
I read with great interest yesterday your comments in the Wall Street Journal opinion article, “Review & Outlook: Escape From Illinois, Cont.,” regarding the recent tax hikes in Illinois and its impact on CME Group and other companies. I wanted to let you know that like Illinois, Florida has begun a transformation of its own – to not only be the best place during your cold winters, but to also be the best business environment in the country.
Since becoming Governor in January, my top priority has been making Florida the number one state to start, grow or relocate a business. Lowering taxes, streamlining government and eliminating red tape are just a few of the ways we are attracting businesses and creating new private sector jobs.
Of all these steps, tax relief is the most important. I started this year by implementing a tax reduction plan which targets almost half of Florida’s businesses. Meanwhile, companies in Illinois are facing a tax rate of 9.5 percent, four percentage points higher than Florida. I will not rest until the business tax is completely phased out in our state so that both Florida and companies like CME Group can thrive.
As a businessman myself, I know the frustration of spending significant revenue just to pay your company’s state taxes. Imagine the growth your company could achieve if you could reinvest those additional state taxes to hire more employees and expand operations.
Florida was recently named number three on Chief Executive Magazine’s list of best states to do business. Illinois ranked nearly last in the nation at number 48. Florida is also a right-to-work and no-income-tax state, another positive for your employees who would enjoy having more money in their pockets. But more than just a better business climate, we have a trained workforce that is ready to provide talent your company can benefit from, and we are focused on providing the best educated workforce in the country.
In addition, Florida is the fishing and golf capital of the world. We also have the best beaches, world class theme parks and 160 state parks. Our state is the best place to live, work and play.
As CME Group continues to explore cost-saving options, I ask that you consider doing business in Florida, where I’m confident you will get the greatest return on your investment, the best workforce, a convenient location and a great place to live.
As the leader of economic development for the State of Florida, I invite you and your team to call me directly to discuss in more detail the specific benefits that CME Group can gain by expanding in Florida. You may contact me personally at 850-488-5603.