Chicago ministers back Blagojevich budget plan
March 20, 2007 (WLS) -- Supporters and those opposed to the governor's new tax on business are marshalling their forces. Governor Rod Blagojevich wants to tax gross receipts of businesses to fund healthcare and education in Illinois.
The business community is getting its counter-offensive together, and it will be heard from sooner rather than later, but for now the governor and his allies have the stage and the momentum as they intensify the campaign for a new tax on business to pay for health care and education with rhetoric reminiscent of a civil rights crusade.
"We salute this budget proposal that is hitting deep pockets and we are saying to Corporate America, if you don't support the plan, we will take to the streets and we know how," said Rev. Janette Wilson, Ministers Alliance.
Dozens of Chicago-area ministers are threatening boycotts and demonstrations if that's what it takes to convince corporations and lawmakers to support Governor Blagojevich's plan for a new tax on business revenues to raise $6 billion a year for schools and health care.
"And that's what this fight is really all about. It is about healthcare for families, to fund our schools and give everybody a chance to live the American dream. This is more than just a fight in Springfield. This is a crusade. I want to tell you how delighted I am to be here," said Governor Rod Blagojevich,
Blagojevich says the plan will probably be amended to include property tax relief for beleaguered homeowners, and it will free up enough money from the rest of the state budget to subsidize highway construction and provide operating cash for mass transit, including the CTA.
The governor is also telling his big political contributors, who also run businesses, that he will happily give up their campaign cash if that's the price of their support for his tax plan.
"If you're saying to me that's the price to get healthcare for everybody and fairly and properly fund our schools to give our kids a chance to learn, in a heartbeat, absolutely, without hesitation, and that's the whole purpose we do it. The purpose to raise money to a campaign is to get elected to office and do things for people. That's the whole purpose of it," the governor said.
Business executives leading the opposition to the tax increase say they are in the process of identifying $3 billion within the budget to pay for healthcare and education without having to raise the business taxes, which they say would cost jobs and force companies out of Illinois, and result in higher prices for consumers. That's part of this big counter-offensive, which will be laid out with ads and news conferences sometime down the road, but in the last week, all we have heard from is the governor and his supporters. Of course, lawmakers in Springfield will have the final say.
- Man falls to ramp leading to Chicago River
- Oprah sells Harpo Studios complex in West Loop
- Body found in Indiana ID'd as missing woman Cathryn McGill
- Chicago archdiocese to release more abuse files
- Chicago targets in terrorist crosshairs, new al Qaeda magazine...
- Former inmate lawsuit alleges excessive force
- 2 arrested in Robbins burglary at site of triple murder
- Mega Millions jackpot swells to $400 million
- Malaysian leader: Plane's disappearance deliberate 1 min ago
- abcnews: Missing plane a 'deliberate act,' Malaysia...