UPDATE: Lawmaker pay cut legislation heads to Governor for approval – Senate Democrats comment (VIDEO)

Kotowski-75x75SPRINGFIELD, IL – In an ongoing effort to close a massive budget gap, the Illinois House agreed with the Illinois Senate’s plan to eliminate governmental pay raises for the next two years.  The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Dan Kotowski prohibits pay raises and freezes the salaries of state lawmakers, the governor, other statewide officials, state’s attorneys and members of numerous state boards and commissions.  The legislation also requires a nearly 5 percent cut to lawmakers’ pay.  The projected savings of the plan is around $548,000.


03-21-2012: Lawmakers for the fourth straight year will freeze state officials’ salaries and cut their pay under a plan that cleared the Senate Executive Committee and the full Senate this week. 

State Sen. Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge) won approval Wednesday for legislation that freezes state officials’ pay and imposes salary cuts to lawmakers.

“In these economic times, public servants must sacrifice,” said Senator Kotowski, chairman of a key Senate budgeting committee. “It is clear that families and businesses across Illinois are doing more with less. As servants of these taxpayers we need to do the same.”

Senator Kotowski’s proposal prohibits raises and freezes the pay of state lawmakers, the governor, other statewide officials, state’s attorneys and members of numerous state boards and commissions.

The total savings to taxpayers from freezing salaries will exceed $330,000.

In addition, Kotowski’s plan requires a nearly 5 percent cut to lawmakers’ pay. That amounts to at least a $3,100 cut for each member of the House and Senate.

The total savings to taxpayers from cutting lawmakers’ pay will top $548,000. These reforms are part of an overall effort to restore fiscal health to help the state of Illinois.

“We’re taking steps to restore responsibility to our budget process and earn back the trust of taxpayers by doing what they do every day: establishing priorities and living within our means,” Kotowski said.

Lawmakers voted unanimously for the proposal.  HB 3188 now heads to the Illinois House for further consideration.

Here's what members of our caucus had to say after the pay cut passed:

  • “I can’t ask for my constituents to do more with less when I’m not making the same sacrifice,” said Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights). “With many struggling to make ends meet, elected officials must take a pay cut in order to avert further economic hardship for the most vulnerable.”

  • “I don’t think it’s right to tell people that you want to lay them off at the same time that you’re giving yourself a raise,” said Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton), who has been an outspoken critic of Quinn’s plan to close state facilities all over Southern Illinois.  “That’s what a greedy Wall Street CEO does.  That’s not what we do in the state of Illinois.”

  • "As many Illinoisans continue to experience unemployment, underemployment, and poverty, it's essential that public officials lead by an example of shared sacrifice," said Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago), one of the Senate’s lead budget negotiators. "This year's budget will require elected representatives to make difficult choices that affect everyone in the state, and so it's appropriate for the cuts to start with us."

  • "Rejecting this pay raise is the right thing to do at a time when so many people are struggling to make ends meet," said Senate Majority Leader James Clayborne (D-Belleville). "As legislators, it's wrong to ask our fellow Illinoisans to make responsible decisions if we are unwilling to do the same."

  • “These pay cuts only apply to members of the General Assembly,” Senator Dave Koehler(D-Peoria) said.  “I encourage Governor Quinn to make similar cuts for himself and senior members of his administration.  Every dollar we save is a dollar we can spend on higher priorities like education, programs to help low-income seniors and children, and economic development programs that help private companies create jobs.”

  • "The truth is that we are not spending enough in almost every part of the state budget.  We have the 5th largest economy in the nation, 20th or so in the world, yet we rank 50th in per capita spending - that's last in the United States.  We need structural tax reform to properly fund our most important priorities--like education, health care and the ongoing need for infrastructure," said Senator Michael Noland (D-Elgin).  "Until we do this, the least we can do is cut our own pay again.  I know most working families in Illinois are not seeing raises this year, so we shouldn't either."

  • “This is the fourth year that legislators have voted to cut their pay and we will continue to participate in the shared sacrifice until we are able to bring balance to our budget,” said Senator Michael Frerichs (D-Champaign).  “As long as taxpayers in Illinois are shouldering the burdens of the economy, elected officials also must share in the responsibility.”

  • “I think this is the right thing to do,” said Senator Terry Link (D-Waukegan).  “The state can find a better use for this money.  I hope that by giving up our own pay we can keep a local after-school program or violence-prevention program funded next year.”

  • "As we continue to restore fiscal discipline in Illinois, it is imperative that elected officials share in the sacrifice and take an additional pay cut," said Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton). "No one is immune to austerity and we must continue to reduce spending."

  • “In a time of fiscal crisis, it is imperative that we, as Illinois legislators, respond by taking another pay cut," stated Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago)."This is another step in the process toward a balanced, responsible approach to budgeting and we must continue forward with cost saving measures."

  • “As state legislators, it is important that we share in the hardship during these tough economic times,” said Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora). “When we face the prospect of cuts to programs for seniors and low-income families, it is essential that we find the savings needed to protect those essential services in a time when they’re needed most.”

  • "Freezing pay increases for statewide officials and requiring furlough days and pay cuts for legislators are important indicators of our willingness to make difficult budgetary decisions and restore public confidence in government," said Senator Jeff Schoenberg (D-Evanston).

  • "During these trying economic times when we're asking so many Illinoisans to make sacrifices and 'tough' things out, it's only right that legislators be the first to follow our own advice,” said Senator Donne Trotter (D-Chicago).