By Jim Bowman
Continued from 4/20 about Harmon/Lilly town hall meeting 4/6 in Elmwood Park:
Complaints about Gov. Rauner multiplied. A woman told how hard it was to get through to his office. "I know it's hard," said Harmon. "Keep calling."
"The next seven weeks [of budget struggle]," he predicted, "will be a slow, bloody slog."
He added, and repeated later: "I don't understand this governor. I don't know what makes him tick."
"Don't pass this budget," a man urged.
"We are not going to pass the budget he proposes," Harmon promised. "Legislators across the state are doing meetings like this, taking it to the people."
"The governor made a fortune running nursing homes," a woman said. "There ought to be an investigation of how he made his money."
"He also made money investing for public employees' pensions," Harmon added. He urged people to come to the Thompson Center rally scheduled for a few days later.
He reminded listeners that he is lead sponsor of an amendment for a "fair tax," a progressive, or graduated income tax by which rates rise with income.
"We know who have the money," said a woman. "We should go get their money." She added that the state needs "more revenue, but not more property taxes."
Lilly analyzed the problem: "Governor Rauner is new to government. He wants to run it like a business."
"No," said a man. "He wants to run it like Republicans who run other states into the ground."
Harmon specified two such states, Kansas and California "before Governor Brown," adding, "Cuts don't work."
"The mental hospitals will be overrun" because of the Rauner cuts, another man said, to which Harmon added, "Cook County jail will be overrun."
"I don't understand" how bad it is, "like you guys," said Lilly, speaking to those who had described their situations.
One of these spoke up in a voice barely audible, in brown cap and wine-dark shirt-jacket from the rear of the room: "The governor don't care about us." He offered a strategy of group involvement and pressure.
Lilly agreed: "You've heard that saying, 'There's power in numbers.'"
A woman analyzed the situation: "The governor wants a balanced budget. It's what he was elected to do. . . . The [President] Reagan cuts only trickled down." She said she would have "rallies like this in Republican districts. Arguments about compassion won't work, because he [Rauner] doesn't care."
Republicans "don't give a damn," she said. "They care about nothing but money."
Answer Book 2019
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