22 arrested in senior citizen protest on Mag Mile

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CHICAGO -- 22 protesters were arrested today when senior citizens concerned about state funding for the elderly blocked North Michigan Avenue.

The seniors stopped traffic to draw attention to the state fiscal crisis. They say Governor Bruce Rauner's plan to cut their home care is both heartless and short-sighted.

The Community Care Program helps seniors live independently and was established to help reduce nursing home costs to taxpayers.

The state estimates that 36,000 seniors could lose home care services under the rule changes sought by Governor Rauner.

The services are intended for those 60 and older with assets of $70,500 or less with an assessed need for long term care.

Community Care provides adult day service for those wanting to live at home who cannot be alone during the day. It also provides respite for family caregivers. The program also offers in-home service for help with cleaning and meals.

The protesters want the Governor to tax corporations and the wealthy to fix the state's deficit.

But instead, the Governor has proposed changing the scoring system to make it tougher for seniors to qualify.

The Governor's office sent WGN this response:  "...The Governor has tried to negotiate on critical reforms to free up resources to help the most vulnerable and pass a balanced budget, but unfortunately, the Speaker continues to block those reforms at the expense of the most vulnerable and the middle class."

Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan's spokesperson says the Governor can blame anyone he wants, but he was handed a budget and he chose to veto it.  Madigan's spokesperson says the Speaker remains committed to passing a balanced budget and doing so soon.

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