State Rep. Katie Stuart was elected after saying some very Republican-sounding things about fiscal reform despite her campaign being largely bankrolled by the Madigan Machine.
Her early effort at lawmaking follows that same path, with her House Bill 643 asking to withhold her fellow lawmakers’ pay increases as well as those for top state leaders as long as there is no state budget in place. Stuart goes her own bill one better by refusing her own state pay and pension until there’s a budget.
“Springfield politicians need a reminder that they represent the people of Illinois who pay for their perks,” Stuart said in a press release. “I am proud to fight for freezes to legislators’ perks to hold politicians accountable to taxpayers, and save taxpayers money. That is why I am refusing to accept my legislative salary until a budget is in place and am rejecting a taxpayer-funded legislative pension.”
So far, so good for Stuart. That is, as far as she goes.
Wouldn’t it be better if Stuart went for the whole deal? We’ve said for the past 18 months that lawmakers should feel the full pain of not doing their jobs. No work, no pay — and their work is to pass a state budget.
As long as we protect the political class and allow the pain of lawmakers’ inaction to rest on college students and disabled adults, there is little incentive for them to act. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan wants to take the big cudgel to this problem and force a resolution by stopping all state paychecks.
The surgical approach of cutting out pay for those creating the problem seems to be a better cure for what ails Illinois than Stuart’s well-intentioned chicken broth. Don’t expect her peers to take either.