The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Illinois Activists Announce a Two-Week, 200-Mile March From Chicago to Springfield for a State Budget That Works

Illinois budget crisis offers a glimpse into what’s in store for the nation under the Trump tax plan


Marchers ranging in age from 23 to 90 years old from diverse Chicago communities, will walk 200 miles to Springfield asking people along the route about how the state's budget crisis impacts them.

The marchers will stop in suburban and rural communities to listen to people and build support for a budget that puts people and planet ahead of corporations and billionaires.

The March to Springfield is organized by Fair Economy Illinois. The march starts at noonMay 15 with about 25 people, more are expected to join along the route.

Illinois has one of the most regressive tax structures in the country: most corporations pay no income tax to the state, and billionaires pay the same income tax rate as senior citizens on social security. Illinois is a microcosm of what's in store for the nation under the Trump tax plan: Public education, infrastructure and the social safety net are in shambles.

"When I was young, rich people and corporations paid their fair share of taxes, and government used that money to invest in people," said 90-year old Alfred Klinger. "I'm a World War II veteran, and the GI Bill paid for me to go to medical school, allowing me to serve my community as a physician for 45 years. Government should make these kinds of big investments in every generation."

Illinois, the nation's fifth largest state, has been without a budget for two years.

"Springfield has abandoned us, and we deserve better," said Samantha Nichols, a pastor- in-training who plans to march. "Our People and Planet First Budget proposal puts hundreds of thousands of people back to work doing the things that will improve our lives and strengthen our communities."

The People and Planet First Budget raises $23 billion dollars by closing corporate tax loopholes ($2.5 billion), passing a financial transaction tax on LaSalle Street trades ($12 billion) and enacting a graduated income tax ($9 billion).

Activists propose spending the money on universal health care, pre-K through 12 education, free tuition at public universities, transitioning to green energy, repairing infrastructure and honoring the state's pension commitments to public workers.

Learn more at Follow the march at and Read about the marchers here.

People's Action builds the power of poor and working people, in rural, suburban, and urban areas to win change through issue campaigns and elections.