Thousands Rally as Lawmakers Head Back to Work

Tuesday, Jun 23, 2009  |  Updated 6:26 PM CDT
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Thousands Rally as Lawmakers Head Back to Work

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Thousands Rally as Lawmakers Head Back to Work

Lawmakers returning to Springfield for a special session on the budget are greeted by thousands who don't want their services cut.
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Thousands of people squeezed into the Illinois Capitol to protest possible budget cuts and instead demand higher taxes as lawmakers got back to work in Springfield Tuesday afternoon for a special session to try to fix the state budget.

People waved signs in support of programs for children, women, senior citizens, disabled people, drug addicts and others while chanting "Hey! Hey! Ho! Ho! Budget cuts have got to go!" and "Don't balance the budgets on our backs!"

Authorities said Tuesday's rally attracted more than 5,000 people. At one point, police stopped letting more people into the Capitol building because of safety concerns.

Gov. Pat Quinn told the crowd to keep up pressure on Illinois lawmakers to pass a budget that doesn't leave out the sick and
needy.

Similar rallys were held in Chicago on Monday and last week.

Illinois has a massive budget deficit, and Quinn has said the state will have to cut billions of dollars out of programs that provide community services without a tax increase to help fill that gap.

There was no sign Monday there was enough support among lawmakers to pass the income tax increase Quinn wants to avoid the deep cuts.

Quinn contends the budget passed earlier this month by the Democrat-controlled Legislature could mean $9.2 billion in cuts if lawmakers don't come up with an alternative budget with more money from a tax increase.  Much of that could be in the form of cuts to social service programs.

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