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Protesters Pack State Capitol Over Proposed Budget Cuts

By aaroncynic in News on Mar 12, 2015 6:20PM

More than a thousand demonstrators filled the state Capitol yesterday to protest budget cuts proposed by Governor Bruce Rauner. Protesters said Rauner’s budget cuts unfairly target poor and working class people while giving the wealthy a pass on paying their fair share.

“How can the governor claim to be working for ‘the next generation’ when he is cutting a lifeline from under them,” said Beverly Hill, a child care provider who traveled from suburban Harvey to Springfield for the rally. Illinois’ Child Care Assistance Program faces a $300 million shortfall for the current fiscal year and state subsidies ran out last month. “The care I provide makes it possible for their parents to work or attend school,” said Hill. I’m here to tell Rauner to close the loopholes on the corporations and the wealthy so they can pay their fair share to generate the revenues that our state needs.”

According to the State Journal Register, demonstrators handed over a petition with 9,000 signatures demanding that Rauner fully fund child care services after chanting in front of his office. Later, about a dozen protesters were removed from the House gallery. “This is real life,” said Katelyn Johnson, director of Action Now, one of the many groups who organized the protest. “Oftentimes Springfield forgets that they make decisions that affect real people.”

The demonstration then hit the streets, eventually making its way to the Governor’s mansion, where the group held a “funeral for the 99%.” Verlyn Rosenberger, a resident of Decatur and part of the Illinois People's Action group, told the Quad City Times:

“People are hurting, and who will they choose to go without food? Who will they choose to not have the help that they need? What if their parents or grandparents were in that situation?”

Eugene Lim, of the group ONE Northside Chicago, said that money to close the budget gap could come from a millionaire’s tax, closing corporate tax loopholes and a Lasalle Street tax. “We’re gathered here today because Rauner is balancing the budget on our backs. We’re here to say, ‘Enough is enough.’”