CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - The richest man in Illinois had a couple dozen unwelcome visitors at his front door Monday.
Ken Griffin is worth $7.5 billion. Protesters gathered outside his office in the Loop and eventually blocked the doors and elevators. Police came in and arrested 19 of them.
Griffin is Governor Rauner's biggest donor. The protesters want people, like Griffin and Rauner, to pay more in taxes. The rally came as the governor continues his face-off with Democrats over the budget.
Closing schools Downstate and in the suburbs due to the lack of a state budget could help Democrats put enormous political pressure on Republican legislators, and bring them to their knees.
“They've threatened to hold up school funding and school opening in the fall for a new school funding formula. That's wrong. Our schools shouldn't be held hostage,” Rauner said.
What Republican Gov. Rauner wants to protect is the suburban schools and instead push Chicago's all-but bankrupt Public Schools into a financial collapse, bringing Chicago Democrats to their knees.
That would force top Democrats to beg him for help, and begrudgingly approve reforms the governor says will help school districts cut costs and balance their own budgets.
At Lyons Township High School on Monday, the governor said unless he gets that, he won't sign an overall state budget. He also promised to work on a new school funding formula down the road.
Democrats, though, say it’s needed now.
“The poorest districts are being hurt. Wealthier districts are actually being treated better by the state. And that just doesn't work. It doesn't make sense,” said State Senator Daniel Biss.
It's not just the threat to schools across the state, but adding to the urgency is a recent ruling by the Illinois Supreme Court. The justices signaled that without an approved state budget, tens of thousands of state workers shouldn't be getting paychecks. One way or another, it looks like the crisis is coming to a head.