Chicago residents on a mission to pass a state budget that fits their needs begin a 200-mile march today (May 15) from their Midwestern city to Springfield, Illinois.
Marchers—ranging from ages 23 to 90—will make stops along the trek to connect with community members and build support for a budget that “puts people and planet ahead of corporations and billionaires,” as explained in a press release emailed to Colorlines. Organizations behind the two-week journey include Fair Economy Illinois, a coalition of groups that is demanding the government prioritize public interests over private.
Currently, the state has experienced a two-year budget stalemate, a result of Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and the state’s top Democrats failing to compromise on what the budget should look like. This has resulted in lost college grants and mental health services, as reported by The St. Louis Post-Dispatch earlier this year.
The March to Springfield hopes to bring attention to the budget impasse and pass one that provides universal healthcare, closes corporate tax loopholes and provides free college tuition for community and state schools, as stated on its website. The budget anticipates that closing these loopholes, as well as new taxes on income and LaSalle Street trades, would add up to $23 billion that can go toward proposed public services.
“When I was young, rich people and corporations paid their fair share of taxes, and government used that money to invest in people,” said 90-year old Alfred Klinger. “I’m a World War II veteran, and the GI Bill paid for me to go to medical school, allowing me to serve my community as a physician for 45 years.