CHICAGO — Protesters angry over cuts to home care assistance for seniors temporarily stopped cars along one of Chicago’s busiest streets.
22 protesters blocked off traffic on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue for a few minutes, with hundreds more cheering them on from the sidewalk. That crowd included legislators entangled in the budget fight, like State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago).
“People are being hurt right now because the governor, by administrative rule, has implemented cuts to seniors,” Harris said. “It’s just wrong to try the balance the budget on the backs of those who are the most vulnerable instead of asking people to pay their fair share.”
Gov. Bruce Rauner has proposed changing how senior citizens qualify for the Community Care Program, which provides assistance to keep seniors with assets of $70,500 or less out of more expensive nursing homes. The protesters called on him to raise taxes instead.
The protesters responsible for blocking traffic weren’t arrested, but instead given tickets.
The governor’s office pinned the need for cuts on Democrats.
“The administration has taken a series of management steps to responsibly manage the state’s finances, because (House) Speaker (Michael) Madigan, Senate President (John) Cullerton and the legislators Madigan controls overspent taxpayer money causing a $4 billion deficit. The governor has tried to negotiate on critical reforms to free up resources to help the most vulnerable and pass a balanced budget, but unfortunately, the Speaker continues to block those reforms at the expense of the most vulnerable and the middle class,” said governor’s office spokeswoman Catherine Kelly in a statement.