Illinois taxpayer rally to be held in Springfield on May 17
Taxpayers will have the opportunity to have their voices heard by gathering together for a Taxpayer Advocacy Day at the Illinois Statehouse on Tuesday, May 17.
Hosted by the Illinois Policy Institute, the rally will take place between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Illinois State Capitol, Howlett Building, 501 S. Second St. in Springfield.
“This day is an opportunity for the taxpayers to be heard,” Judi Willard, external relations coordinator for the Illinois Policy Institute, told the Sangamon Sun. “We want the legislators to stand with the taxpayers and stand with (Gov. Bruce Rauner) to be kept in the negotiation process with AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees). We, the taxpayers, pay for the state workers we need. We need state workers. It is not us against them. It is responsibility and a math issue at this point.”
Talks between Rauner and AFSCME were said to have reached an impasse last year, prompting both sides to agree to ask the Illinois Labor Relations Board to intervene in order to continue AFSCME’s contract while negotiations continued.
House Bill 580, which passed the Illinois Senate with a 38-17 vote in March, would allow a panel of arbitrators to negotiate contract offers with unions that contract with the state.
The measure would also grant $3 billion in taxpayer dollars to large unions over the next several years from a state in a financial pickle.
Willard said AFSCME’s proposal to remove Rauner from negotiations with the state seems political because H.B. 580 would only apply during Rauner’s tenure.
“...What AFSCME is asking for is going to cost the taxpayers a little over $3 billion over a four-year period," Willard said. "And we just feel like right now Illinois cannot afford to be giving pay raises of 11.5 to 29 percent guaranteed over the next four years while people in the private sector are struggling with higher property taxes and higher unemployment. So we want the taxpayer to be heard, and we do not want Rauner taken out of the negotiation process with AFSCME because he is our representative in the negotiations.”
Willard said the Illinois Policy Institute is expecting a big turnout, and 180 people from the Chicago area have already indicated that they will attend and the momentum is continuing to grow.
“I hope that 100 people show up," Willard said. "If more than that show up, even better because that means people in Illinois are getting engaged and are interested in the fiscal sanity of their state."
Last year, Rauner vetoed Senate Bill 1229, which was nearly identical to H.B. 580. The governor’s veto stood after an attempt to override the veto fell three votes shy in the House. Many speculate the governor will also veto H.B. 580.
“It is very important that we get in front of our legislators, our elected officials and let them know what we are thinking, how the policies they enact are affecting us and that this is their opportunity,” Willard said.
Some may have to travel a little farther than others to attend the rally, but Willard said the opportunity will be worth it.
“I am going to give them a T-shirt; I am going to give them lunch; and their voices are going to be heard," she said. "So what is better? That is what democracy is all about, being heard... . It is a great opportunity to engage.”
Organizations in this Story
401 S. 2nd St.
Springfield, IL - 62706