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9/19/2017 7:27:10 PM
Posted: 5/20/2003 2:49:34 AM EDT
[url]http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-leg20.html[/url] Lawmakers may get raises despite state budget crisis May 20, 2003 BY DAVE MCKINNEY Sun-Times Springfield Bureau SPRINGFIELD--The leader of the Illinois Senate on Monday predicted a planned 2.8 percent cost-of-living increase for Gov. Blagojevich and members of the Legislature "probably" would remain in next year's state budget despite dire financial times. With the Treasury facing an expected $5 billion shortfall, the almost $750,000 that could be spent next year to give the state's top elected and appointed leaders a hedge against inflation would come nowhere near fixing the government's budgetary conundrum. But the raises carry potent political symbolism heading into an election year, particularly given that social service agencies face widespread cuts and thousands of non-unionized state workers are scheduled to take pay freezes starting July 1. Blagojevich, for one, went on record Monday saying he wouldn't accept a raise and called on legislators to do the same. But the decision seems to rest with the General Assembly. Last spring, faced with similarly tough times, legislators passed a law barring themselves and others from accepting a cost-of- living increase in the 12-month budget cycle ending in June. They would have to do so again to block this round of possible raises, but Senate President Emil Jones (D-Chicago) said he doesn't foresee that happening. The Senate is expected to consider spending bills today, and the raise, tucked in Comptroller Dan Hynes' office budget, could be debated. The House signed off on the raises last Friday when it approved Hynes' budget. State law compelled Hynes--who processes paychecks for most state government workers--to factor the increase into his budget request. Top officials receive a cost-of-living increase each year based on a U.S. Labor Department salary index unless the General Assembly blocks it. A spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) wouldn't assess its chances. "I haven't heard it discussed, and I don't do predictions," spokesman Steve Brown said. If it stands, Blagojevich's pay would rise to $154,910 from $150,691. "The governor is not in favor of a pay increase and won't accept one," spokesman Tom Schafer said.
Link Posted: 5/20/2003 2:54:43 AM EDT
These guys will never learn. Illinois, like other states, needs significant spending cuts, but nobody in the legislature seems brave enough to even suggest it.
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