WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Lawmakers Told to Show Some Guts

Springfield, IL – Protesters flooded the streets surrounding the Illinois capitol Wednesday to call on state legislators to raise taxes.

As the General Assembly convened in the statehouse, an estimated 15,000 protesters scolded lawmakers for failing to pass a tax increase. One such person is Maria Whelan.

"We demand a responsible budget. And shame on every elected official who is too big a chicken to stand up to their leader. Shame on them. Shame on them," Whelan told the crowd.

Other fired-up speakers urged the crowd to turn to the Statehouse. They shouted slogans such as "Show some guts!"

Whelan heads Illinois Action for Children. It's one of about 100 organizations that took part in the rally. The groups represented teachers, programs for people with disabilities and mental illness, and state employees unions.

Whelan says budget cuts will be devastating to education and social services. She says the General Assembly shouldn't balance the budget on the backs of the poor, elderly, children and teachers.

Governor Pat Quinn has suggested a 33% increase in the state income tax. He says if he'll have to slash the budget if an income tax hike is not approved.

Wednesday's protest is described as one of the biggest rallies in the history of the Illinois Capitol.

Thanks to Illinois Public Radio and The Illinois Associated Press