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Photos: 23 Arrested At Moral Monday Demonstration In The Loop

By aaroncynic in News on May 9, 2016 9:00PM

Updated 11:30 a.m. 5/10/16: A total of 23 people were arrested at Citadel Monday afternoon. According to IIRON—a member organization of the Fair Economy Illinois coalition—twenty two protesters were released Monday, but one is still being held by the Chicago Police without charges.

At least 23 demonstrators were arrested Monday afternoon for shutting down the lobby of Citadel, LLC, a hedge fund management company run by Illinois richest man and top donor to Gov. Bruce Rauner, Ken Griffin. The activists used lockboxes made of PVC pipe wrapped around their arms to shut down the elevator banks leading to the hedge fund, according to organizers, while others blocked access to the lobby by wedging themselves inside the revolving doors as hundreds of supporters looked on.

The demonstration was the first “Moral Monday Illinois” protest to take place in many months; the protests have a religious theme calling on the wealthy to pay more taxes. Fair Economy Illinois, a coalition of community groups that helped organize the demonstration, says they want the state to adopt a “People and Planet First Budget” to turn Illinois into a “promised land.”

“Corporations and the rich can easily afford to pay their fair share, and the investments we make in education and infrastructure will also pay off for them,” Judy O’Connor, a member of the group, said in a statement Monday.

The group’s budget calls for series of revenue options—which Rauner has vehemently opposed until state lawmakers pass his pro-business anti-union ‘Turnaround Agenda’—they say will net some $23 billion. Currently, Illinois faces a $9 billion budget deficit which could grow to $14 billion by 2026 and is the only state in the country to not have a FY16 budget. The impasse has caused headaches for social service agencies around the state, and many have been forced to make painful cuts or close their doors altogether.

“Tens of thousands of Illinoisans are already suffering due to the cuts and unpaid state bills,” O’Connor said. “We’re being asked to sacrifice our health, well-being and independence so that corporations and the rich can keep their tax breaks.”

Among the revenue proposals are the closure of corporate loopholes, and the enacting of a LaSalle Street tax and progressive state income tax. According to the group, the additional revenue would also help fund human services and infrastructure needs as well as pension contributions.

Last week, Rauner said he was looking for a “grand bargain” for a budget for the next two years. “I'm recommending we do a budget that's for 2016 and 2017,” Rauner told WNIU. “Frankly, we're out of money for 2016. There's nothing that we can do really productive for 2016. We should get a grand bargain for both years, and do the right thing for the long term.”

Toby Chow, a seminary student leader also with the group, said there can’t be a bargain without revenue.

“Let’s be clear, any ‘grand bargain’ without significant new revenue certainly will continue to hurt poor and working class communities and protect the rich,” he said.