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Chicago Mercantile Exchange Threatens to Leave as Mayor Brandon Johnson Takes Office


Terry Duffy, the chief executive officer of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), threatened Monday to leave the city if new Mayor Brandon Johnson tries to tax financial transactions, as promised in his campaign.

The CME is a financial cornerstone of the city, responsible for keeping Chicago on the global economic map. It is the leading exchange of derivatives and commodities in the world, and a major driver of the local economy.

Johnson, who took office Monday, won a close race for mayor earlier this year after running on policies even further to the left than the outgoing mayor, Lori Lightfoot.

FILE - Chicago mayoral candidate Brandon Johnson participates in a public safety forum in Chicago, Tuesday, March 14, 2023. How best to manage Chicago’s financial challenges is among the many issues separating candidates Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas heading into the April 4 runoff for mayor. (AP Photo/Teresa Crawford, File)

FILE – Chicago mayoral candidate Brandon Johnson participates in a public safety forum in Chicago, Tuesday, March 14, 2023. How best to manage Chicago’s financial challenges is among the many issues separating candidates Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas heading into the April 4 runoff for mayor. (AP Photo/Teresa Crawford, File)

He promised to raise taxes, though he backed away from past pledges to defund police.

Bloomberg News reported:

CME Group Inc. is prepared to leave Chicago if the city and state take steps that are perceived as “ill-conceived,” Chief Executive Officer Terry Duffy said in an interview.

Duffy’s remarks, made in an episode of the Odd Lots podcast, come as Mayor Brandon Johnson is being sworn into office after proposing additional taxes, including one on financial transactions, to help boost the city’s revenue. That plan was fiercely opposed by Chicago’s exchanges and investment firms. A higher levy would also require state approval to pass.

“Mr. Johnson has no legal authority to impose a transaction tax on my business,” said Duffy, adding that fighting crime should be a bigger focus for the new mayor. He also shouldn’t “get too bogged down on how he’s going to short-term think he’s going to raise taxes on certain people in order to fit his agenda.”

Many other companies and financial firms have left Chicago in recent years, citing an unfriendly business climate and the rise of crime. Voters tired of Lightfoot but rejected liberal reformer Paul Vallas for Johnson.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.





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