With Governor Pat Quinn expected to address Illinois’ nearly $8
billion in unpaid bills during his annual budget speech today, some
Chicagoans are calling on him to close three corporate tax loopholes.
A group of about 50 protestors belonging to Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation and other organizations gathered outside the State of Illinois building Tuesday afternoon to deliver a new fiscal policy report to the governor’s office.
“In the tradition of Carnival, today is called Fat Tuesday and tomorrow is Ash Wednesday,” Rev. Marilyn Pagán-Banks, a member of Northside P.O.W.E.R., said at the protest. “Today we are calling on Illinois’ fat cats, these corporate persons, to get their greed out of their system so that tomorrow they can repent.”
Some of the protestors dressed up in coattails and top hats to parody
the traditional image of a corporate magnate. Others donned Mardi Gras
beads and jazz instruments as they made their way to the Sears flagship
store at State and Madison in downtown Chicago.
Pagán-Banks and other demonstrators present outside the governor’s office said they were outraged that Sears laid off 100 workers late last week after the Illinois legislature gave the Hoffman Estates-based company $150 million dollars in tax breaks back in December.
As the protestors marched to the sounds of a tuba, trumpet and snare drum they chanted “they get Roebucks, we got no bucks,” a reference to Sears, Roebuck and Co., the retail giant’s official name.
Here's more from yesterday's rally:
Prepared by Good Jobs First, a grassroots corporate and government accountability resource center, Monday’s report claims that by closing specific corporate tax loopholes Illinois could add about $1.5 billion to its coffers by 2013.
The list of corporate loopholes detailed in the report includes:
“Just a portion of this $1.5 billion could ensure that we
avoid all additional cuts to human services, public safety and education
in the Illinois state budget this year,” said Beth Lanford, a member of
Northside Power who spoke at the protest.
To take some of the pressure off the state’s financial crisis, Quinn’s budget proposal is expected to close two prisons, six Department of Human Services adult transition centers, four state mental hospitals, and a couple of state youth centers, according to a Tuesday-evening report from the Chicago Tribune.
While Quinn’s budget will slash 9 percent from every state agency except education and police, the governor’s aides told the Tribune that some corporate tax loopholes would be closed, but did not give details on which ones.
Check back with Progress Illinois for more on Wednesday's state budget address.