Illinois Comptroller Tells Lawmakers to Wait in Line
Last week, I posted in this space about how much we Illinois taxpayers have paid state lawmakers over the past 10 months (What We've Paid Illinois Lawmakers For No Budget). What struck a chord with many is that although the state is delaying payment to many who earned and deserved payment for services rendered, there's been no delay in paying lawmakers. Until now.
I quoted from a report from The Illinois Comptroller's Office that gave us the numbers:
House Member salaries: $6,099,587
Senate Member salaries: $3,007,396
Leadership Stipends: $1,223,666
Now, Illinois' Comptroller, Leslie Munger, says "Hold on a minute."
From the Chicago Sun-Times:
Illinois legislators and elected statewide officials will have to wait in line with everyone else to get paid by the state, Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger announced Sunday. The state is paying its bills about two months late, so Illinois’ 177 legislators, as well as the governor, lieutenant governor, comptroller, attorney general, secretary of state and treasurer can expect to wait that long to get paid.
Adding to the problem, according to Munger, is the fact that around 10 percent of the organizations that received payment from the state in the past can no longer be paid without a budget. You know, the budget we've been waiting for over the last ten months.
“They’ve been forced to slash programs and staff and, in many cases, close down all together,” she said. “Yet against this backdrop, the state is paying members of the General Assembly and our constitutional officers, including me, on time every month, essentially giving us preferential treatment in the line of bills waiting for payment.”
“Combined, those payments total $1.3 million each month or $15.6 million annually. Now some might say that that’s not very much relative to the state’s staggering financial problems, but it all adds up,” she said, noting that $1.3 million could be a lifeline for a nonprofit.
“And that is why, effective immediately, I have directed my staff to treat payments for all elected officials just like every other state payment,” she said. “As our cash flow continues to deteriorate, it is only fair that we end the prioritization of pay for elected leaders.”
The Sun-Times story goes on to point out some of our state's money woes. We're set to spend $1.2 billion more than we did last year, while bringing in about $5 billion less. Illinois is over $8 billion in debt, and were set to tack on another $6.2 billion this year.
Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger will join us on the WROK Morning Show tomorrow after the 8am news to discuss.
Oh...and as long as we're talking money...and revenue...don't forget, it's TAX DAY!