UPDATE: Florida on short list for Chicago Merc relo? Gov. Scott gung-hoby Dara Kam | October 4th, 2011
UPDATE: Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group spokesman Michael Shore would not respond to specific questions about Gov. Rick Scott’s pitch to bring the CME to the Sunshine State. Scott told reporters today the CME has narrowed down its search to Florida and Texas. Duffy’s threatening to flee Illinois because lawmakers there hiked corporate income taxes earlier this year.
“We are considering proposals from several states,” Shore said.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s been wooing the Chicago Mercantile Exchange since shortly after he took office. And he’s more eager than ever to get the 2,000 jobs a relocation of the CME would bring.
Scott said this morning Florida and Texas are considered the top two contenders if CME Chairman Terry Duffy follows through on his threat to move the exchange out of the state after Illinois lawmakers raised the corporate tax rate from 4.8 percent to 7 percent.
“Everybody call the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, get them to move those 2,000 jobs to Florida,” Scott told reporters during a Q-and-A session after this morning’s Cabinet meeting.
Scott believes he’s competing with his rival-in-chief – Texas Gov. Rick Perry – for the CME relo. But other news reports indicate that Duffy is also in talks with Illinois officials eager to keep the exchange at home.
Scott is “on the hunt” for new jobs, he said Tuesday, adding he’s optimistic about Florida’s chances of nailing the CME jobs. He appeared to have unleashed his inner salesman on Duffy in a recent conversation.
When asked what he told Duffy, here’s what Scott said:
“My pitch is, first off we have no personal income tax and we’re in the process of phasing out our business tax. I can tell you that if you have any issues with state regulation, I’ll at least respond. I can’t guarantee you the answer you want, but I can get you an answer. If you have problems, I’ll see if I can solve the problem. If I can’t, I can’t make any guarantees. But let me tell you. I will show up to try to solve problems. That’s all I’ve ever done in business. That’s all I’ve ever done with my life. And that’s pretty important to business people because their experience with a lot of government is they just can’t get an answer. A no is OK. But give me a darn answer.”
Scott said he’s spoken directly with Duffy and pledged to do all he could to lure the CME to the state. Two thousand new jobs would be a significant boost for Scott, who’s promised to create 700,000 jobs in seven years in Florida. About 80,000 new jobs have been added in Florida since the first-term governor took office in January.