Bloomington-Normal, IL – If you want a preview of America under the Trump tax and budget proposals look no further than Illinois. Like Trump’s tax plan, Illinois lets corporations and the rich off the hook.
Far from generating the economic growth the Trump budget predicts, Illinois’ regressive tax structure has left the state broke, resulting in crumbling infrastructure and the destruction of its public education system and social safety net.
Illinois activists are on Day Eleven of a 15-day, 200-mile March to Springfield for a People and Planet First Budget. The trek ends at the state capitol on Tuesday, May 30, when hundreds of people from around the state march the last mile and flood the capitol building in Springfield claiming it for the people of Illinois.
Activists will hold a “people’s assembly,” hearing stories from people around the state and passing the people and planet first budget.
“Illinois is a cautionary tale for America,” said Cindy Bush, a leader with Fair Economy Illinois, the organization behind the March to Springfield for a People and Planet First Budget.
“We’ve marched more than a hundred miles so far and heard story after story of the suffering caused by slashing funding for education, healthcare and the social safety net,” said Bush. “People are literally dying, and schools all around the state may not open in the fall. Austerity has been a disaster for the people of Illinois.”
Illinois has been without a budget for two years, resulting in $13 billion in unpaid bills to state vendors, a 34 percent cut to public higher education funding and at least $3 billion in annual cuts to human services around the state.
Fifteen activists, aged 18 to 91, are making the 15-day, 200-mile march to build grassroots support for their proposal to raise $23.5 billion in state revenue by closing corporate tax loopholes and making the wealthy pay their fair share.
They want to put the people of Illinois back to work educating the next generation, repairing infrastructure, transitioning to green energy, providing vital human services and doing other work that will improve Illinois communities.
Marchers are holding listening events in communities along the route to hear directly from people about how the budget impasse has affected them and to build support for their budget proposal.
The March to Springfield is organized by Fair Economy Illinois, an affiliate of People’s Action. The march is co-sponsored by the Grassroots Collaborative and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
People’s Action, which has affiliates in 29 states fighting for the interests of poor and working-class households, is opposed to the Trump administration’s budget. People’s Action has outlined analternative vision of a budget that serves the needs of ordinary people and lifts families out of poverty.
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People’s Action was formed last summer in a rare merger of five national organizations, each with decades of organizing and activism history, creating one of the largest grassroots, people-powered networks in the country. People’s action is more than a million people working for economic, racial, gender and climate justice – and to ensure everyone a voice in our political system.