Two of three local lawmakers vote against giving themselves near 10% pay hike. Can you guess which?
As reported via the AP in the Dispatch/Argus:
With the election behind them, Illinois senators voted Thursday to accept raises that would mean a 9.6 percent increase next year in the paychecks of lawmakers and other top state officials.
Their salaries have not increased since July 2001, and some lawmakers defended the additional pay as long overdue.
The raise applies to lawmakers, the governor, agency directors and other high-ranking officials, although some -- including Gov. Rod Blagojevich -- say they will reject the extra money.
Lawmakers get a base salary of $57,619, which would jump to $63,143 with the raises that are being allowed to take effect. Most lawmakers get extra pay for chairing committees or serving in leadership positions. All are entitled to $125 in expenses for every day of session, plus a mileage reimbursement.
The governor's salary would climb from $150,691 to $165,138.
No one's paychecks will actually increase unless lawmakers set aside the money -- estimated at $4 million -- to cover the increases. That could happen later this month or early next year.
Officials also are entitled to two other cost-of-living increases that took effect on paper but never were accompanied by the necessary government funds. Those increases, if funded, would bring total raises to 15.6 percent.
Legislation to block the raise needed 30 votes. It failed 25-21, with six senators voting "present." Of the 21 senators voting to accept the raises, 19 were Democrats and two were Republicans.
The Illinois House voted in April to reject the raise, but the Senate delayed action until after the fall election.
Under Illinois law, the Compensation Review Board reports every two years on whether officials' salaries should be adjusted. Its recommendations take effect automatically unless both legislative chambers vote to reject them.
In addition, officials get annual cost-of-living increases unless, as has been the practice recently, lawmakers withhold the money.
Jones has defended the additional money, saying lawmakers need cost-of-living increases like everyone else. When asked about Illinois residents who don't get regular increases, he said, "You ought to quit who you're working for."
Sen. Rickey Hendon, D-Chicago, chided lawmakers who claimed they would reject the extra money.
"You know you're not going to do that because you want to stay happily married and you want to avoid problems at home," Hendon said.
But other lawmakers said they couldn't support the increase when many mid-level state workers aren't getting raises.
"We have professional people in this government working right now who have not had a cost-of-living raise in four years," said Sen. Dale Risinger, R-Peoria. "We need to give those people that are working hard, doing a good job for the state of Illinois, their cost-of-living first."
How nice. We have a Senate president who's attitude demonstrates his complete disconnect with reality by snapping that those folks who don't get automatic pay raises and can't simply vote to do so should just quit our jobs and go work somewhere else. How nice.
Reminds one of Sen. Jacobs when his reaction to the protests of residents whose property values would tank when a hog plant was built nearby was to esssentially say that they should have expected a gargantuan industrial slaughter plant next door when they decided to live there decades ago.
Add to that the goof who made the sexist crack about how no one could dare turn down the pay raise because they wanted to save their marriage, as if women are simply money-grubbing shrews who would never understand someone turning down a raise on principle.
But have you guessed who voted for this raise and who didn't among our local political representitives?
Only one made it his first order of business post-election to say "show me the money".
I'll give you a hint. He's the same one who several comments have praised for his expensive suits. That kind of gives it away right there.
Yes, our rookie Sen. Mike Jacobs was one of 21 senators voting against rejecting the report recommending the pay hike.
On the House side, Rep. Pat Verschoore actually jumped on the bill to reject the pay hike as a co-sponsor, and Rep. Mike Boland voted yea to block it as well.
If funded, the new pay raise would give lawmakers roughly $5260 a month, though they're only in session part of the year, with the $125 per day walking around money when they are in session and a milage allowance which goes to pay for gas, a car, and insurance one would assume.
Though I don't have it in front of me, I feel it's safe to assume that they enjoy insurance that most people could only dream of as well as more than generous pension plans (in addition to the big $ they can make as lobbyists after their stint as lawmakers)
Add to that some piles of campaign cash at their disposal and "perks" from interested parties, and you're living pretty large.
Two cheers for Reps. Boland and Vershoore for sticking to principles.
The bill in question is HJR121
The Senate roll-call vote is listed here, and the House vote is here.