CHICAGO (CBS) — A group of progressive activists was kicking off a march from Chicago to Springfield on Monday to draw attention to the two-year state budget stalemate.
Alex Muhammad, of The People’s Lobby, and about 18 others planned to walk from the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago to the Illinois State Capitol building in Springfield over the next 15 days.
“Each day, we’re doing between 8 and 15 miles a day, and we have rest stops planned in between that, and we are taking shelter and housing at churches and allies that we’ve met and reached out to along the way. Some folks are opening up their homes,” she said.
The goal is to reach the capitol by May 30, the day before the end of the spring session for the Illinois General Assembly.
During the trek, Muhammad said they plan to hold listening tours to talk to people about what not having a state budget for nearly two years has meant for them. She said the goal is to get people to stop talking about the state budget in the terms of the back-and-forth bickering between the Republican governor and Democratic legislative leaders.
“Changing the conversation back to the community, and the needs of the people, and … proposing a solution that does not hurt the most vulnerable in our communities,” she said.
The People’s Lobby, a progressive political action group, has proposed a budget that provides free tuition at state universities and community colleges, and universal health care. To pay for it, they want to raise taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations, and tax trades at the state’s financial institutions.