:: The Telegraph | Governor touts tax plan in Alton ::

Governor touts tax plan in Alton

By LINDA N. WELLER
April 5, 2007 – 4:02PM

interpreter Darrell Jacobs.jpgIllinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, right, addresses a crowd of hundreds packed into an upstairs hallway at Alton City Hall on Wednesday as IMPACT Inc. interpreter Darrell Jacobs, left, signs the speech for the deaf. Blagojevich attended the rally to rais
ALTON — Throngs of people, many from labor union locals, packed the second floor of Alton City Hall on Wednesday to hear and mostly cheer Gov. Rod Blagojevich pitch his Investing in Families budget plan.

“Big corporations just walk and don’t pay their fair share. The system needs change and reform,” he said. “This is the first year for opportunity. We have a Democratic governor, Democratic Senate and a five-vote veto margin. We believe corporations should be the ones to pay their fair share.”

Union members held signs or wore matching T-shirts showing they represented United Steel Workers Local 100, Hodcarriers and Laborers Local 218 or Service Employees International Union Local 880, among others.

When asked if their identifying signs meant they support the governor’s plan for a gross receipts tax plan, one man answered, “That’s why we’re here.”

Another man held a sign indicating his displeasure over electric rates that jumped Jan. 1. It read: “Ameren Will Bankrupt Southern Illinois.”

Mark Bohart of Alton, who did not share in the rousing bursts of applause for the governor, wore a black T-shirt emblazoned with the words: “Illinois the Nazi state.”

“I’m tired of the many laws, like the no-smoking bill, and taxes,” Bohart said. “I’m tired of it all. I’m sick of politicians. The system is broken; it needs to be fixed.”

A few others grumbled after Blagojevich’s speech that it was full of puff and no substance, but he appeared to have more fans than detractors, thanks to the union turnout. Among them was Pete Hatfill of Jerseyville, grass-roots political activist for the Illinois Education Association. Continue

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