A majority of Illinois legislators voted in party-line votes for a pay increase last night. Some politicians are using verbal gymnastics to try to deny it, but that is just a further insult on their frustrated constituents.
Sadly, like many things in government, they use complicated procedural tricks and technically detailed excuses to try to confuse and mislead people (that's a politically correct way for me to say they're lying to you).
The voters just want plain language and the truth - so let me walk you through it:
In 2014 the Democrat majority passed a law that said lawmaker salaries, operating expenses and pay increases must be specifically prohibited for a given year for the payments to stop or the increases frozen.
So we get annual increases in each year unless we specifically freeze our pay by inserting a sentence in the Budget Implementation Act to stop the pay raise.
Republicans once again created language to stop the pay raise - as we did last year - but the Democrat majority made the decision to reject our urges to stop the pay raise. They refused to insert language to specifically stop the pay increase. They then passed the Budget Implementation Act and the Budget along party lines. Every single Republican voted to reject it and one big reason - as was debated on the floor - was because of the pay raise, which is a slap in the face to every taxpayer. Every law maker will be getting a pay increase due to the Democrat's decision to not insert a single easy sentence to stop the pay raise.
Now, sadly, legislators - who know full well what they have done - are claiming things like:
1) They "did not vote on a pay raise," etc. Well, they sure did vote to pass bills that will fund pay increases. And they chose to exclude language from these very same bills that would have stopped the pay increases.
2) That they did not appropriate for the pay increase. But they did create - magically - a separate slush fund that just so happens to have enough in it to fund the pay increases...hmm...
3) They claim, including on the floor last night, that the comptroller would not fund the pay increases. There is a court case that forces the comptroller to fund the pay increases - and they know that!
What gall. The fact that they try to mislead and trick the very people whose taxes pay their salaries is the ultimate insult.
Yes, be very clear and don't let anyone trick you, Illinois legislators will be getting paid more this budget year than last budget year. Where I come from that is what most people would call a pay increase. They could have stopped it but the majority party intentionally excluded language to stop it and then passed the budget related bills.
Elected officials are, unfortunately, often held in low regard by the people. The reason why people often don't like politicians is because some of them do horrible stuff like this...and then lie about it.
The pictures below show the House and Senate rolls calls for the Budget Implementation Act. There were other things wrong with the budget, but one of the main reasons Republicans voted no was because we shouldn't be getting a pay raise no matter what is going on, but especially in the middle of a crisis that finds 1 in 4 Illinoisans out of work and people across our state struggling. I'll be posting more tomorrow on the budget, including the vote tallies.
All done in a rushed manner in the middle of the night after being MIA for the last 8 weeks. And now they tell you that they did not do what they did, in fact, just do. While you were asleep last night, the Illinois legislature voted themselves a pay increase. Shameful.