RBC events this week generated coverage from the Associated Press, National Public Radio, NBC Chicago, Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Tribune, and the State Journal Register.
An hour before the Governor's State of the State Address, we packed the Capitol Rally with over 500 participants from all corners of the state. The Associated Press published the story, meaning people throughout Illinois and the nation read about it.
More than 500 people gathered at the Illinois Capitol ahead of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s State of the State address to call for an end to the state budget impasse.
The Responsible Budget Coalition’s rally was Wednesday morning in the building’s first-floor rotunda. Protesters waved signs and yelled “Rauner says cut back! We say fight back!”
A retiree from Chicago Heights said he came from the South Side of Chicago on a bus with about 50 others to ask Illinois leaders to solve the budget crisis. He held a sign with “Budget Now for Families.” Other signs called for a budget for youth, higher education and immigrant services.
Rauner and Democrats who control the state Legislature have been unable to agree on a budget for the fiscal year that started July 1.
Our public demonstration during the Governor’s address led NBC Chicago’s coverage, with reporter Mary Ann Ahern describing it as a “huge protest” rare in scope. Ahern also interviewed one of the speakers at the rally we held earlier in the day, Christopher Glenn, a student at Chicago State University (CSU). CSU - which mostly serves non-traditional students of color - may be forced to close its doors or institute major cuts to staff and academic programming by March if policymakers do not provide funding.
As protesters shouted “budget first” outside the Illinois House chamber, Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday promised big changes to the state’s education funding formula and its criminal justice system, all while minimally mentioning the budget impasse.
State Journal Register columnist Bernie Schoenburg authored a story about our demonstration entitled: "Rotunda demonstration continued during speech"
[A] big gathering in the rotunda Wednesday included hundreds of people chanting things like “budget first” even as Gov. BRUCE RAUNER delivered his State of the State address in the House chamber.
At least in the House gallery, some of the chants — muffled by the chamber’s closed doors — could be heard as the governor spoke.
Why that tactic?
“I think it was necessary so the governor understands and all the lawmakers understand that families and communities need a budget right now, and they need one that chooses revenue over cuts to veterans, seniors, those with disabilities,” said NEAL WALTMIRE, spokesman for the Responsible Budget Coalition.
The coalition includes about 250 groups, from statewide teacher unions to Land of Lincoln Goodwill Industries and the Hope Institute for Children and Families.
“We just wanted to make sure that the governor heard our concerns. It was hard to ignore us,” said Waltmire
The day before the Governor's address, the RBC held four press conferences. Those led to a number of stories in national and statewide media outlets.
Reuters News Service quoted RBC Co-Coordinator Dan Lesser noting the State of Illinois was “desperate” due to the lack of a responsible budget.
Emily Miller, director of policy and advocacy at Voices for Illinois Children, said Rauner needs to focus on getting a budget, not pushing a political agenda.
"How many people have to stand in front of a microphone and say that their lives are being ruined before the governor decides to make passing a budget his number one priority?" Miller said.