State lawmakers are expected to get a pay increase when Governor J.B. Pritzker signs the budget. It will be their second raise this year.
“I just think it sends the wrong message at a time when people are struggling with inflation, the cost of living, cost of energy, of gasoline, of food, and medicine has all gone up,” State Rep. Mike Marron (R-Fithian) said.
In January, before the end of the previous session, lawmakers raised their salaries to $85,000 giving themselves about a 16% raise.
Now, lawmakers’ base pay will go to $89,675 dollars per year once the governor signs the budget. This raise is technically required by state law.
“The cost-of-living increase takes effect in relation to the fiscal year which is July 1, and it’s tied to [the] federal index, which is calculated at that time,” Kent Redfield, UIS professor emeritus, said.
It gives lawmakers an increase in their pay to keep up with inflation, but in previous years, they have passed on this raise.
The inclusion of it in this year’s budget led even some Democrats to vote against the budget.
“They know, in their district, there’s something in the budget, and it could be a pay raise, [it] could be something else, that they’re likely to get hammered on if they’ve got an opponent,” Redfield said.
In a statement to WCIA, a spokesperson for the House Democratic Caucus said, “While court decisions limit what actions legislators can take in the middle of a term with regard to the cost of living adjustment scheduled by law, House Democrats’ focus was on delivering a fiscally and socially responsible budget that rebuilds Illinois’ fiscal house, invests in communities, and builds a brighter future for all of Illinois.”
No Republicans voted for the budget. For some, the pay raise for lawmakers was a deciding factor.
“When I decided to take the office, I think the salary was $68,000,” State Rep. Michael Coffey Jr. (R-Springfield) said. “After I was appointed, it went to $85,000. And then I’ve been in office three months, and then they moved it to $89,000, so that was one of the big sticking points for me personally.”
In addition to the pay raise, some members in the House and Senate already get even more if they hold a leadership position.