Legislation & Lobbying

Illinois governor suspends pay for lawmakers to force action on pension 'crisis'

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn used his line-item veto authority to suspend the pay of lawmakers in the state until they reconvene to resolve the state’s “worst-in-the-nation pension crisis.”

“In this budget, there should be no paychecks for legislators until they get the job done on pension reform,” Governor Quinn said in a statement on the Illinois Government News Network. “Pension reform is the most critical job for all of us in public office. I cannot in good conscience approve legislation that provides paychecks to legislators who are not doing their job for the taxpayers.”

Quinn is voluntarily not taking a salary until the pension issue is resolved.

The Chicago Tribune described Quinn’s move as a “dramatic gesture that is likely to increase tension with the General Assembly and the fellow Democrats who lead it.”

The Tribune reports the base salary for lawmakers is $67,836 and notes the move also targets stipends that boost pay for lawmakers who hold leadership positions.

Quinn and lawmakers have been at odds over pension reform for months.

The Sun-Times notes that lawmakers can convene to override the salary veto. The paper also questioned whether the move is constitutional and said Quinn may be setting the stage for a legal battle. Language in the state’s constitution states that legislative pay cuts can’t take effect during a lawmaker’s term in office, the Sun-Times reports.

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