By JERRY NOWICKI
Capitol News Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois lawmakers will get their first pay raises since 2008 after the House chose not to concur with a Senate action that would have prevented the salary increases.
Lawmakers earn base salaries of $67,836, a rate which would rise by more than $1,600 July 1 once statutory cost of living increases are applied. They also receive per diem reimbursements and some receive added pay ranging from $10,326 to $27,477 per year for committee chair and leadership positions.
Since 1990, Illinois law allowed lawmakers a cost of living increase of about 2.4 percent each year, but in the past decade it has become routine for each chamber to adopt language prohibiting those increases from taking effect.
Language that would have stayed the raises this year was not included in budget implementation legislation as it has been in years past. Senate Republicans questioned the absence of the language when the budget bills passed late May 31 into June 1, and that chamber rushed to pass a measure preventing the increases.
That measure, House Bill 837, passed unanimously and went to the House, where sponsorship was transferred to Rep. Thaddeus Jones, a Calumet City Democrat. He filed a non-concur motion, and the House never took the final vote that would have prevented the pay increases.
A Sunday call to Jones was not returned by Tuesday.
Some House Republicans, such as David McSweeney of Barrington Hills and Tim Butler of Springfield, used their social media feeds to argue against the raises and encourage Gov. J.B. Pritzker to use an amendatory veto to add language blocking pay raises.
“Illinois citizens are sick and tired of secret insider budget deals that enrich Springfield politicians at the expense of taxpayers,” McSweeney, who voted against all of the budget bills, said.
But Pritzker told Chicago media Tuesday he would sign the budget as is—even without the added language to prevent pay increases—echoing comments he made upon the Legislature’s adjournment Sunday.
“This is a complete legislative process to make sure that we got a balanced budget. That's the process that we went through, both sides of the aisle, both chambers, this is the budget that we’ve got,” he said.
Only 23 lawmakers voted against the budget implementation bill, Senate Bill 1814, which lacked the legislator pay freeze language.