How’s a state lawmaker to live on a mere $68,000 a year plus $135 a day? Don’t the hard-working men and women of Springfield deserve their 2 percent raise to keep up with inflation?
Illinois Senate President John Cullerton says lawmakers would be violating the state constitution by not taking the $1,350 cost-of-living adjustment that will be in their Friday paychecks. House Speaker Mike Madigan initially rejected the idea of giving up the raise as a “distraction,” but on Tuesday stemmed the growing criticism when his chamber decided it would live without the raise.
Just watch as the Senate fails to follow suit, with Cullerton again using the state constitution to protect his new cash.
For the record, state lawmakers voted to reject each of the past six cost-of-living adjustments. Cullerton won’t explain why this time is different — you know, this time when they are a month late on the state budget and their best effort was a plan that spent $4 billion more than they had.
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State employees are still getting paid. State lawmakers are getting a raise.
As long as the Springfield crowd feels no pain, there will be no progress on a state budget. As long as they refuse to consider the five reforms to curb corruption and make Illinois a less-toxic environment for business growth, Illinois will remain in financial limbo.
As long as they remain deaf to just how self-serving they appear by taking a raise while local teens lose their summer jobs, while cities don’t get their video gambling payments and while social service agencies shut off services, it’s hard to imagine them taking seriously the mandate Illinois voters gave Gov. Bruce Rauner to fix this mess.
When you fail to do your job, do you get a raise? Nope. You usually get fired.