Illinois Balanced Budget Fight effects all except lawmakers
According to an article titled “Illinois Politicians to receive pay raises despite Rauner Efforts” as reported “failing to pass a balanced budget is of little consequence to the state’s political class. As Illinois enters its third week without a state budget, House Speaker Mike Madigan and other members of the Illinois General Assembly will begin receiving pay raises Gov. Bruce Rauner has attempted to block. The governor made note of this in a July 21 press conference. Lawmaker salaries are set to rise between $1,300 and $1,900. The General Assembly passed Senate Bill 1354 – a budget bill – on June 26. One week later, on July 1, the governor issued an amendatory veto that would OK the budget bill if the General Assembly accepted additional language that would prohibit lawmakers from receiving pay raises based on cost-of-living adjustments, as well as increases to their per diem payments for when they are in session. So why are lawmakers receiving paychecks without passing a budget? The answer is simple. Due to a law passed last year under the leadership of Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton, lawmaker salaries, operating expenses and pay increases must be specifically prohibited for a given year for the payments to stop. This is what’s referred to as a “continuing appropriation.” The amendatory changes to SB 1354 suggested by the governor were not accepted by the General Assembly, and the bill died. Therefore, pay increases will flow to lawmakers. State Rep. David McSweeney, R-Cary, filed a bill on July 9 that would not only stop the pay increases, but remove lawmaker payments from being a continuing appropriation altogether, meaning lawmakers would not get paid until they pass a balanced budget. The bill is stalled in the Rules Committee.
Now let’s not get all this confused and think that this is just one issue ignored by voters and embraced by both parties. This is but a continuing course that Springfield has been on and the voters have appeared to okay for quite some time. Governor Rauner did bring attention to lawmaker’s raises but nothing was mentioned about the millions of dollars that was spent to refurbish his mansion. Nothing was mentioned about his use of “gift cards” to pay people to vote for him and the other schemes both parties have employed to win at any cost. Make no mistake that any lawmaker from either party who claims to be so dead set against this pay raise will succeed in killing it not because they do not pretend to try but simply because they are only pretending to do it. You see, all lawmakers from both parties will benefit from this pay increase and if anyone thinks that they are going to go against their best interest, you may wish to re-think.
This is nothing but a posture to enhance their chances to get re-elected and all other matters are simply. Constituents will suffer from the billions of dollars cut from those who need it the most while those who have paid to be ranked higher on politicians’ scale of conscientious will go on living fine. These same constituents will be ignored and minimized until it comes time for another election then they will be fed the same crap they were first served for them to win and the circle continues.