Citizens march for state workers

By Laura Geller - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Citizens from across the Commonwealth braved the cold and marched to the state capitol Saturday.

They're hoping to send a message to Governor-elect Bob McDonnell and state lawmakers before the new legislative session starts this week.

No more budget cuts or layoffs and a tax increase for large corporations.

Those are just a couple of things one group is hoping to get out of the next Governor and General Assembly.

More than 100 people took to the streets, hoping to send their message loud and clear.

It's become a sort of fight song for the Virginia People's Assembly.

"That tells you something," said demonstrator Lillie Branch-Kennedy. "The people of Virginia care about Virginia."

Organizers say right now, the state budget is balanced on the backs of workers and tough economic times are not an excuse to slash state jobs.

Daniel Breslow traveled all the way from Blacksburg to make sure state lawmakers get the message.

"It's times like this when you really need to look at those priorities hard and figure out what's important and what government should be doing and what it's role is," he said.

The group walked from Kanawha Plaza through the financial district.

Protestors say the banks and corporations in downtown have to pay their fair share of the state's tax burden.

The state hasn't raised the income tax rate on large corporations in decades.

"Virginia has the 2nd lowest corporation tax in the United States," said Branch-Kennedy. "What we're saying is increase the corporation tax. If you do that you won't have to do a lot of the other cuts."

The group marched all the way to the capitol saying government needs to return to by the people and for the people.

The GA session begins Wednesday and while the Virginia People's Assembly says the rally and march are its main event, organizers say they'll return to the capitol to try to influence the budget process.

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