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August 1, 2014

Big money for broke Illinois

The state of Illinois is broke, but that hasn't prevented hundreds of state workers from joining the six-figure salary club.

The State Journal Register recently reported that nearly 1,600 more state workers had paychecks of $100,000 or more in 2013 than in the previous year -- 7,800, up from 6,215.

Many department spokesmen blame the increase on back pay owed to union members and overtime, as if that somehow makes a roughly 25 percent jump in the number of $100,000-plus more palatable.

Overtime sometimes can't be avoided, but in the state of Illinois it's often an indication of poor scheduling or inadequate staffing. For instance, the Department of Corrections had $60 million worth of overtime last fiscal year. That's an inefficient, wasteful use of tax dollars.

The higher salaries will also help bump up the costs of eventual pensions, which is terrible news considering the pension funds are already drowning in red ink.

State officials say the number of $100,000 workers should decrease this year. We'll believe that when we see it.

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