Fifteen people, comprised of home care workers and people with disabilities faced arrest this morning protesting outside of the Chicago Board of Trade building. The rally and protest, organized by Stand Up! Chicago, drew more than 100 people in the morning rush to demand that CME Group return the tax breaks it received after the company threatened to leave the state. According to the organization CME’s blackmail of the state will cost it more than $75 million just this year while state legislators may cut $73 million to home care services in the next budget.
“We’re here to show CME officials how much it costs the 99 percent when billion-dollar corporations demand tax breaks they clearly don’t need,” said home care consumer Rachel Siler in a statement. “When the state pampers greedy corporations, it punishes working families. People like me lose vital services like home care, and taxpayers have to spend more on nursing homes.”
Governor Pat Quinn proposed to cut $210 million in programs that go to home care services for elderly and the disabled. The massive budget cuts could force 90,000 seniors and disabled into nursing homes. A boom for the nursing home industry but in the long run a high cost for the state for saving in the present. Penny wise and a dollar foolish!
Protesters chanted “give it back” referring to the company’s massive tax breaks that now threaten basic services for the poor and disabled. CME can claim some good will towards the public when they returned $15 million in TIF funds last fall following public outrage and shaming from the same advocacy groups.
The day’s actions coincide with the multi-billion dollar ($1.9 billion in profit last year alone) exchange’s annual shareholder’s meeting this afternoon. Local activist organizations hope to draw thousands to protest outside while proxy shareholders will attempt to ask direct questions of the company’s executives.
More to come today including video and pictures. Current wi-fi connection is way too to upload even small files.
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