A lame duck session in Congress was so much that lame members couldn’t wait for a pay rise before addressing the key issues facing Illinois. Like the ban on selling semi-automatic assault weapons and extended magazines.
Mostly Democratic lawmakers voted in favor of a nearly 17% pay rise last Friday, but pushed through the Illinois Community Protection Act until Monday. All Republicans and a handful of Democrats were in no rush to cash in 2023 gold, but they would certainly accept the now-swelling state check.
Before finally approving a military gun ban, lawmakers also increased the salaries of governors, other statewide officials, and heads of state agencies. Instead of Illinois’ motto, “National Sovereignty, National Union,” perhaps it should be changed to “Where’s Mine?”
According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, the pay raise raised a layman’s annual salary from $72,906 to $85,000. This translates into an annual base salary increase of $12,904 for Representatives and Senators.
When was the last time you saw a 17% pay rise in a private sector job? I never have? One House Republican called the price hike “his January Christmas for Congressmen.”
It was some struggle as the gun bill stalled in the Senate. It has been called for by Lake County citizens and legislators since gunmen used military weapons to kill seven people and injure four dozen during the Fourth of July parade in Highland Park. No, it happened.
It’s not that the vote on the bill came as a surprise. There have been several legislative hearings on this topic.
Lake County and other Illinois government agencies have been advocating tighter firearms control for years. After the Highland Park tragedy, the Lake County Board made assault weapons bans a priority on the county’s state and federal legislative agendas.
Unlike his legislative colleagues, Gov. JB Pritzker took immediate action after the gun bill arrived on his desk on Tuesday. he enthusiastically signed.
In addition to the pay increases, most legislators will receive at least $12,000 or more for special duties, such as chairing a committee, or as a per diem while Congress is in session. The bill also creates two new leadership positions with additional salaries in addition to base salaries for the majority legislators. It’s Democratic now, and at least for the next decade.
And public service compensation has increased, ranging from 8% to 10% for elected state civil servants. The Senate approved the plan Sunday night by a vote of 30-21 after passing it through the House late Friday — deputies thought no one was watching — by a vote of 63-35.
Asking legislators to increase the salaries of the 21 appointed chief engineers, Pritzker immediately signed a salary bill into law. The governor’s salary is now up from $190,700 to his $205,700. Billionaire Pritzker does not receive a salary.
At least the governor has commissioned a national salary survey for jobs comparable to those in his Cabinet. I was.
By the way, the legislative price increases are in addition to the cost of living hikes for Congressmen and Senators that started on July 1st. The hike currently ranks among some of the highest in the country.
To be fair, the last salary increase for MPs was in 2008, and the annual cost of living adjustment was adopted a few years ago. Still, the optics don’t look good. MPs must hope voters forget about taxpayer-funded payroll when they run for re-election in a few years.
“We don’t want a Congress made up entirely of wealthy people,” House Majority Leader Greg Harris told the Associated Press. “We want people who can run for public office and serve their communities, but also pay for their families and children.”
Another Chicago Democrat, State Senator Elgie Sims, said:
The good news is, except that the Illinois legislative job is considered part-time, so many see it as a full-time job. continues to work full-time and is actually a part-time MP.
Perhaps this latest pay hike will make what Sen. Sims describes as “the best and brightest” state legislators less likely to face formal corruption charges in the years to come.
Charles Selle is a former News-Sun reporter, political editor and editor.