SPRINGFIELD -- More than 200 union members marched outside the Illinois Executive Mansion Thursday, part of a statewide series of protests against Gov. Pat Quinn’s proposal to close state facilities and cut state jobs.

SPRINGFIELD -- More than 200 union members marched outside the Illinois Executive Mansion Thursday, part of a statewide series of protests against Gov. Pat Quinn’s proposal to close state facilities and cut state jobs.


With chants of “Business gets a handout, workers get left out” and “Stop the attacks, we’re fighting back,” the marchers paraded on the east side of the mansion during the noon hour. Quinn was not in Springfield.


“The governor is certainly going to hear about it,” said Kent Beauchamp, a regional director for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. “He’s going to know there are people out there who are opposed to his cuts, particularly when he has to do it in order to pay for the huge tax breaks he gave to the largest corporations in this state.”


Lawmakers last fall approved tax cuts for Sears and CME group after both companies threatened to move their operations out of Illinois. Sears was given a $150 million break spread over 10 years. CME won concessions worth $85 million at the start. However, the figure is expected to grow to $271 million next year and $361 million a year later, according to figures from Senate Democrats.


“To pay for them, he’s got to shut down public services, he’s got to close facilities, he’s got to lay people off who provide services,” Beauchamp said. “We would like our local state legislators to stand with us, stand up for working people and stand against these cuts of Gov. Quinn’s.”


Quinn wants to close four mental health facilities, two prisons and dozens of agency field offices. The administration said the closures could save $100 million.


“The closures and consolidations proposed in the state budget are hard but necessary,” said Kelly Kraft, deputy director of Quinn’s budget office. “Due to decades of fiscal mismanagement, tough decisions need to be made to address the state’s biggest challenges.”


She said soaring costs for pensions and Medicaid are crowding out other parts of the state budget.


Kirk Dutton is AFSCME vice-president at the Tamms supermax prison, one of the facilities Quinn wants to close. It is home to the worst of the worst of state prison inmates.


“There’s no place to put them,” Dutton said. “It keeps all of the other facilities safe.”


Adam Newhall of Highland works at the Department of Revenue. He just returned to his job after a tour in Afghanistan with the Army Reserve.


“While I was gone, Quinn cut our raises,” Newhall said. “He just decided to ignore the contract. I counted on having money to help take care of my family while I was gone.”


Doug Finke can be reached at (217) 788-1527.