Demonstrators blame Gov. Rauner for budget woes during protest

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Nearly two dozen citations were issued as protesters tried to block traffic on Michigan Avenue, part of a "Moral Monday" protest of the Illinois budget impasse.

The protesters demanded higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy as many took a side in the Illinois budget standoff:

The protesters included social services providers, their clients and supporters. All expressed concern the lack of a state budget will lead to cuts in the programs on which they depend.

"We need more revenue and no cuts!" said U.S. Rep Jan Schakowsky.

They joined hands and blocked traffic in both directions for about 30 minutes. The demonstrators, including some in wheelchairs, peacefully ignored police orders to move. Twenty-two were issued citations:

"Personally I was happy to do what I can to bring attention to the budget cuts and how we could be out of this problem if we just taxed the rich," said one demonstrator.

"It's unfair. It's unjust. We're asking Governor Rauner to stop playing around with people's lives," said Jose Campensano.

Republican governor Bruce Rauner says he would support a tax increase if House Speaker Michael Madigan, whose Democratic party controls the General Assembly, would agree to pro-business reforms. But State Rep. Greg Harris says most large businesses are part of the problem.

"While you and I pay our fair share in taxes, over 80 percent of the corporations in Illinois pay no income taxes," says Rep. H arris.

In an emailed statement, the governor's office said: "The governor has tried to negotiate on critical reforms to free up resources... The speaker continues to block those reforms at the expense of the most vulnerable and the middle class."

But most of the protesters on Michigan Avenue gave Madigan a pass and blamed the governor for threats to their programs.
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