Responsible Budget Coalition Weekly Update: 2/2/16

Responsible Budget Coalition Weekly Update: Tuesday, February 2, 2016

This is a special edition of the Weekly Update, with in depth coverage of last week’s Responsible Budget Coalition State of Our State press conferences and Capitol Rally.

RBC’s State of OUR State Rally

Last week, on Wednesday January 27, RBC members joined together at the State Capitol for the first time under the RBC name. We gathered in the Capitol rotunda shortly before the Governor’s State of the State address to hear the testimony of seniors, students, those with disabilities, faith leaders, immigrant communities and working families describing the true State of our State. We then moved to the 3rd floor, just outside the House chambers where the Governor was speaking. Once there, we raised our collective voice to demand that adoption of a responsible budget take precedence over non-budget items and that our Governor and lawmakers choose revenue over cuts to services families and communities need.  The event displayed the power of RBC’s cross sector and statewide membership, created tension and put pressure on our elected officials, unified and energized coalition members, and attracted the attention of the media (see press recap below).  Our chants rang out through the Capitol and could be heard inside the chamber during the Governor’s address.

The planning for this event was led by members of the RBC’s Field Action Planning Subcommittee: Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Community Renewal Society, Jane Addams Senior Caucus, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, Southwest Organizing Project, Access Living, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Centro Romero, Metropolitan Family Services, and the Latino Policy Forum. Their leadership and work made RBC’s day at the Capitol the unqualified success that it was.

We are proud to report that – because of YOU - we surpassed our turnout goal of 500.  Thank you to all our members and allies who came to the Capitol in groups large and small and joined together to make our united voice heard and fight for our shared goals. In addition to the members of the Field Action Planning Subcommittee, we would like to specially recognize  National Association of Social Workers, Lessie Bates Neighborhood House, Children’s Home + Aid, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, and Erie Neighborhood House who brought in leaders by the busload. 

We could not have communicated the true State of Our State at the Capitol without folks testifying as to why our elected officials must put a budget first and choose revenue over cuts. Thanks to our speakers from Citizen Action - Illinois, Chicago State University students, Illinois Network for Centers for Independent Living (Springfield), Community Renewal Society (Chicago) and the Immigration Project (Bloomington).They forcefully and unapologetically established why Governor Rauner and lawmakers must pass a budget first while choosing revenue over cuts.  

Finally, we would like to recognize Woods Fund Chicago and Crossroads Fund for providing financial support for this event.  Their support for RBC’s work and for the power of community organizing made this day possible.

The State of OUR State rally showed the power of RBC member organizations in fighting together for our shared values reflected in a responsible budget – thank you for being a part of this work.

Check out some of the photos and videos that capture the day on this Storify created by Community Renewal Society.

State of OUR State Press Recap:

Responsible Budget Coalition (RBC) events surrounding Governor Rauner’s State of the State Address  - which included four press conferences, a rally, and a public demonstration outside the chambers during the Governor’s address – generated a tremendous amount of positive press coverage. We have identified 45 news stories generated by the RBC in a two-day period. 

The events garnered the attention of major media outlets, which reached out to leaders in our coalition to do preview stories for the State of the State Address.  An interview with RBC Co-Coordinator Emily Miller was broadcast across the nation on National Public Radio.  Emily was also quoted in a Chicago Tribune preview piece. Reuters News Service quoted RBC Co-Coordinator Dan Lesser noting the State of Illinois was “desperate” due to the lack of a responsible budget.

Our public demonstration during the Governor’s address led NBC Chicago’s coverage with reporter Mary Ann Ahern describing it as a “huge protest” rare in scope.  The Chicago Sun Times also led their coverage with our demonstration and ABC 7 covered it as well. A State Journal Register columnist devoted his headline and seven paragraphs to our demonstration, which included some of our core messaging.  The Associated Press also provided an excellent write-up of our rally.

At RBC-organized press conferences on Tuesday held almost simultaneously in Chicago, Springfield, Rockford and Carbondale, local service providers, working families, and community leaders who are members of the RBC articulated to statewide media the two pillars of RBC’s core message (#budgetfirst and #chooserevenue).

At the Springfield press conference, Polly Poskin, the Executive Director of the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, made it crystal clear why the RBC insists on putting the budget first.  She  remarked: “Sexual assault victims don’t need term limits or tort reform in the aftermath of a sexual assault.  They need counseling and safe space and support”.  The press conference also generated State of the State preview stories by Gatehouse Media (Springfield and Peoria) and Lee Enterprises (Decatur, Peoria, and Carbondale). 

At the press conference in Rockford, Anita Rumage, Executive Director of Circles of Learning Day Care Center, did a great job of delivering our message of choosing revenue over cuts to families and communities. She said: "The reality is that, without a state budget, services for families, the elderly, the homeless and children are being harmed and severely cut back.  Cutting programs is not the answer.  We need to choose revenue."  A big thanks to Easter Seals for leading that press conference. 

The Chicago press conference was widely reported on, including a couple of great stories from CBS 2 TV/WBBM Radio and the Chicago Sun Times.   A press conference in Carbondale was covered by all the local outlets, including some great stories from WPSD NBC 6 and WSIU Radio.  A big thanks to Mayor Mike Henry for leading that press conference.

For more information on each event and a complete media roundup of them, CLICK HERE.

The press events were a true team effort, with dozens of RBC members and partners answering the call.  Thank you to all who participated.  


The RBC released our State of Our State report last week during our four press conferences.  The report is an excellent resource for understanding the scope of the damage that the budget impasse has inflicted and continues to inflict on Illinois families and communities. 

RBC also launched its brand new website last week.  With a wealth of archived research, talking points and news, it is a great resource for understanding and staying current with the budget impasse. 

RBC Work Groups Meeting Times and Locations:

Legislative Work Group:  

  • Wednesday, February 10th from 4:30-5:15 PM at the Capitol in Springfield at a location to be determined.

Field Work Group:

  • Friday, February 12th from 11:00 AM-12:00 PM at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, 50 East Washington Suite 500, Chicago, IL 60602.

Email for more information.   

If you would like to be added to the RBC online forum, please email with your contact information.

As always, stay updated with budget-related news by liking/following us on Facebook and Twitter. On your own accounts use #ChooseRevenue #nocuts #budgetfirst and #twill for budget-related content. 



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