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Gov. Quinn Defends CME Tax Break On MSNBC's "Morning Joe"

By Samantha Abernethy in News on Jan 30, 2012 8:40PM

Gov. Pat Quinn appeared on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" yesterday, and host Joe Scarborough asked Quinn why he gave tax breaks to Sears, the Chicago Board of Exchange and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange to keep them in the state.

Despite seeing huge earnings in the third quarter last year, CME and CBOE complained about Illinois's tax rate and threatened to leave. They essentially held the state hostage by threatening to move out of state unless they receive big tax breaks, and Springfield responded by forking over $300 million.

Part of the transcript of the Scarborough-Quinn exchange, via NBC:

SCARBOROUGH: Now, let me ask you, governor, a quick follow-up. Conservatives would say that you raised taxes, but then you had to give big corporations sweetheart deals to keep them from moving out of state. Is that a fair judgment?

QUINN: I don’t think it’s fair at all. We have targeted tax incentives to keep jobs and grow jobs, both for larger businesses, but also small business. I believe that small business means big business in our state. A lot of smaller businesses, like Groupon, they had eight employees in 2008. They have 6,000 today, so we need to invest in smart people. That’s the best way to have a good economy.

Video of the exchange is below. Scarborough hits Quinn with questions around the 4:00 mark.

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