What We’ve Paid Illinois Lawmakers for No Budget
If you're keeping score, it's been about 10 months since we've had a state budget here in Illinois. Funding for many, many things has been put on indefinite hold, but House, Senate, and leadership salaries keep getting paid, along with stipends for House and Senate leadership.
I just finished reading yet another outstanding piece by Madeleine Doubek at Reboot Illinois that gives some of the numbers on what we taxpayers are paying our state elected officials while waiting for them to do...something.
Here's a look at some of the numbers that Madeleine refers to, courtesy of the Illinois Comptroller's Office (July, 2015 through March, 2016):
House Member salaries: $6,099,587
Senate Member salaries: $3,007,396
Leadership Stipends: $1,223,666
For those of you who find your blood boiling with anger toward lawmakers and the governor, Madeleine points out:
The lawmakers, generally, aren’t bad people. But they play the victim when it comes to this budget nonsense and we let them.
There’s the literal cost to us of $6.09 million in House salaries and $3 million in Senate salaries and $1.22 million in “leadership” stipends for an un-grand total of more than $10.3 million in salaries paid to lawmakers for all these months without a budget so far.
And then there’s the literal cost of communities around colleges collapsing and poor, elderly and disabled people suffering more than they should.
That doesn’t even mention the higher taxes we’re all going to pay that rise the longer this all goes unresolved. When will we apply enough pressure? When will they feel threatened enough?