Report: Carmel mayor may have offered huge incentives for CME relocation

The CME has a major stake in the financial sector, influencing interest rates, exchange rates, and prices for commodities such as corn, soybeans, and pork bellies.

CME

CME

Indianapolis

A bidding battle for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group may be brewing in central Indiana.

The CME has a major stake in the financial sector, influencing interest rates, exchange rates, and prices for commodities such as corn, soybeans, and pork bellies.

The group is considering a move out of Chicago to save money, since Illinois is raising its corporate income tax. Meanwhile, Indiana is lowering it.

On Friday, Mayor Greg Ballard met with exchange leaders to sell the benefits of Indianapolis. The mayor’s office confirms negotiations have been ongoing for months to get the jobs that pay on average $135,000 a year. However, he may have some competition.

Fox 59’s partners at the Indianapolis Business Journal reports Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard could be offering a sweet deal of his own.  In a letter which appears to have been sent to the CME and obtained by the IBJ, Brainard offers land at no cost for the operations and millions to help cover the architectural and engineering costs.

In the letter, Brainard goes on to say the city will waive 75% of property taxes for the first year.

All told, Brainard writes that the incentives add up to $150,000,000.

Brainard wouldn’t confirm or deny a bid, but he said the CME’s predicament has caught his attention.

“We’re always interested in jobs that pay $135,000,” said Brainard. “Especially thousands of them. And that appears to be the case.”

While critics call the conversations a bluff against Illinois lawmakers to lower taxes, others are taking the possibility seriously. Most of the CME’s business is done electronically and doesn’t have to be in Chicago.

However, one local economic development consultant said there is only a 20 percent chance of Indianapolis or Carmel landing the CME.

Whether or not the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group would actually move out of Chicago, some Carmel council members said it’s still worth a shot.

“I think we would be a fool not to compete for them,” said councilwoman Luci Snyder. “I also think that Illinois would be a fool to let them go.”


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