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July 14, 2014

Hands off the pay raises

In January 2013, state Rep. Charlie Meier, of Okawville, introduced legislation that would have prevented lawmakers from drawing their paychecks until Illinois caught up on paying its bills.

Meier's idea had lots of popular appeal but surprise, surprise, it went nowhere with lawmakers.

At least lawmakers were taking 12 unpaid furlough days a year then as a way to help alleviate the state's financial crisis.

But this fiscal year, the legislative furloughs were discontinued. Although there are still lots of bills to pay -- Gov. Pat Quinn's office bragged in a press release on Monday that the backlog was down to $3.9 billion -- Quinn has said a court ruling makes it impossible to continue the furloughs.

Well, there's nothing to say that lawmakers have to keep the $3,100 added into their paychecks for a year of furlough days. Meier and Rep. Jerry Costello II, of Smithton, have the right idea and are among a group of lawmakers statewide who say they will donate their extra cash to charitable causes.

Let's hear from the rest of the metro-east delegation. We hope they join with Meier and Costello and donate that extra cash.

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