SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Dave Syverson (R-Rockford) says Illinois Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger made the right move by putting lawmaker and constitutional officer salaries at the back of the payment line.
“It isn’t fair for state vendors and social service programs to be waiting months for payment while lawmakers were paid on time every month,” Sen. Syverson said. “We shouldn’t be getting paid these generous salaries when we can’t even agree on a budget.”
Illinois has been operating with a full budget since July of 2015, leaving the state’s bill backlog currently at over seven and a half billion dollars. Court rulings have kept state employee paychecks going out, and lawmaker salaries are guaranteed by a continuing appropriation that was passed during Governor Pat Quinn’s time in office.
Contracts with vendors, social service providers, and many other bills have often been some of the last bills paid. Comptroller Munger estimates the current wait for those bills is at least two months. Her latest move means lawmakers will be waiting a similar amount of time before being paid. Munger noted that the re-prioritization of bills is a fairer method and might help pressure lawmakers into ending the budget stalemate sooner. The move also delays paychecks for constitutional officers, such as the Attorney General and Governor, though Governor Bruce Rauner hasn’t accepted a paycheck since being sworn in.
“This will be hard on some of my colleagues, but not as hard as the impasse has been on so many of our residents,” Sen. Syverson said. “My hope is that this action may encourage everyone to work harder toward ending the budget backlog.”