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Pay raise politics

Friday, May 30, 2008

* This won’t work, but it’ll make some people feel good

While Senate President Emil Jones and his new chairman of the Senate Rules Committee have so far managed to avoid holding up-or-down votes on a pair of resolutions aimed at blocking legislative pay raises, the topic continues to rile up lawmakers who don’t think it’s appropriate to receive an 11.7 percent salary hike during a recession.

Fifteen lawmakers from the House and Senate gathered Thursday to denounce Jones’ tactics and demand a Senate vote on the issue. The pay increases would push lawmakers’ base yearly salaries to $73,000 and also boost the pay of judges and statewide officials such as Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

* But not everybody agreed

Later Thursday, a supporter of the pay raises said the lawmakers who want a Senate vote on the issue should stop pointing fingers at others.

“If they’re unable, because they’re not very effective legislators, to convince the leadership to do what they want them to do, who are they blaming?” said Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline. “I mean, the blame should sit in their lap.”

* The pay raises won’t be included in next fiscal year’s budget

Trotter also said funding for pay increases of nearly 12 percent for legislators and other government officials, including Gov. Rod Blagojevich, is not included in the proposed spending plans.

“No, unfortunately, you guys have learned all our tricks on that one,” a laughing Trotter told reporters in the Senate press box. “So, you know, we couldn’t hide it nowhere and get away with it. So we just left them out.”

The same thing happened two years ago. They’ll just fund the raises next year and legislators will receive lump sum checks.

* How the pay raises will break down

Under the recommendations, rank-and-file lawmakers would see their salaries jump from $65,353 to $72,985 next July. Legislative leaders, such as Jones and House Speaker Michael Madigan, would see their pay increase from $91,824 to $102,547.

Additionally, Gov. Rod Blagojevich, whose yearlong showdown with lawmakers has caused delays in education and agricultural funding and almost shut down government last year — would receive an increase of more than $20,000, boosting his salary to $192,773 from the current $170,917.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Sweet Polly Purebred - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 8:27 am:

    MO’ MONEY JONES et al should be paid a per diem for actual days WORKED! There should be no salary. They are in essence “DAY WORKERS” and as such should be paid ONLY for the days they actually show up in Springfield. To think we continue to pay these people day in day out to CAMPAIGN and raise huge sums for their war chests - the same war chests that legislation allows them to take interest free loans from - ala JONES is obscene. How does it make sense for us to pay them hang out in their district holding fund raisers?

  2. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 8:35 am:

    SPP: I thought we wanted them to spend less time in Springfield. Maybe we should dock their pay for each day they spend in the Capitol.

    Mike Jacobs is hilarious…he should get a job with the Daily Show.

  3. - BandCamp - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 8:55 am:

    Do I mind these raises? Not so much, provided they are judged no different than the state emnployees who serve the Governor’s office. Non-exempt employees are still evaluated, and despite high marks are not given a raise. If you are connected, you may get a raise, maybe 3-5%. If you are really wired, then you may get the big percentage these guys are getting.

    The issues, as I see it, is about fairness across the board. More importantly, accountability. According to the recent polls about the Governor, he doesn’t deserve a raise.

    And, anything these Senators and Representatives are saying about the raises being good or bad, or whatever, is all lip service.

    It’s pathetic to hear the excuses being made to not vote on the raises.

  4. - The Doc - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 9:27 am:

    The governor has been silent on this issue, which strikes me as curious since this is the type of populist feel-good item he normally jumps all over. With the understanding that these raises will have a nominal budgetary impact, the like of Hendon, Jones, et al continue to provide further justification for a con-con.

  5. - wordslinger - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 9:30 am:

    Take the money and move on. Anyone who wants to give it back to the treasurer, feel free. Bigger issues on the table.

  6. - Dan S, a voter and Cubs Fan - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 9:49 am:

    To wordslinger - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 9:30 am: , As voter and a taxpayer this is a big issue to me one of many. Why are 2 man able to hold the rest of the Senate hostage on this issue? Where are the checks and balances?

  7. - Sweet Polly Purebred - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 10:03 am:

    PCK: First of all - love the moniker! And now that you mention it, I would have to agree! Things do seem to go better when the rats are away!

  8. - wordslinger - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 10:06 am:

    Dan, I respect your and others opinion on the matter.

    To me, the pay raise issue receives a disproportionate amount of the very-limited mainstream media and public attention to state government. Bigger issues, like the mismanagement we read about here every day, get nada. In the great scheme of things, the pay raise is small potatoes.

    And while I try not to be cynical, I suspect that if the House didn’t know ahead of time that Jones would block a vote in the Senate, they might have voted differently over there. Let’s see how many of them give the money back.

  9. - Cassandra - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 10:10 am:

    I actually don’t begrudge Blago that raise although I believe that most legislators and cabinet officers deserve a pay cut. As a group, they are beyond useless, many are worse than useless.

    Governor is a huge job, and we elected him….twice–he didn’t take over in a coup.Under 200k for a job of this magnitude, in its way, shows how little respect we have for the business of government in Illinois…I guess everybody assumes the governor will make it up “some other way,” an approach which likely contributes to Illinois’ place as one of the most (politically) corrupt states in the

  10. - Team Sleep - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 10:19 am:

    Pay raises should be meted out when our “leaders” show an ability to reasonably and efficiently deal with the problems facing our state. Bond schemes, quickly-ending revenue streams and fund-skimming does not constituent real leadership and budget prowess. It’s smoke and mirrors. When our current power structures finds real solutions, then they can reward themselves.

  11. - Speaking at Will - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 10:25 am:

    The pay rasie issue is small potatos as wordslinger said. However the real crux of the issue is not the dollars and cents of it, but the abuse of power by Ricky Hendon and Emil. I encourage everyone to call Ricky Hendons office and tell him to allow an up or down vote on the pay raises. (217) 782-6252

  12. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 10:28 am:


    I assume the governor also deserves lavish pension and health benefits also.

  13. - Inquiring Mind - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 11:00 am:

    Gosh…if the Gov gets his raise, he’ll actually be making more than Emil Jones’ wife at the Department of Human Services (last I heard it was $187,000/year)

  14. - Sweet Polly Purebred - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 11:23 am:

    Inquiring Mind - the best part about Lori Jones’ job as head of DMH is that the job required that a psychiatrist hold the position - which she is NOT. So, DHS just changed the specs and upped the salary of the postion by $30 - $40 THOUSAND a year over her very qualified predecessor. Thank goodness we all HAVE to take the govs ETHICS TEST otherwise we might not have the common sense to know that this type of nepotism is UNETHICAL.

  15. - PhilCollins - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 12:41 pm:

    The next state constitution should state that no elected state employees may receive a raise, unless the state government has a surplus. This would be an incentive, for legislators, and cause them to pass a good budget, quickly.

  16. - anon - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 12:52 pm:

    Why not? Legislative pay raises are really a non-issue unless the press wants to make it one. Anyone can sit in judgement of what others “deserve”. These ladies and gentlemen get elected under the current laws that we, the people, have approved by electing them in the first place. If there was enough pressure to change the pay raise law, it would be changed. Until that time Eustace, fret about substantive issues that really can and will impact the lives of the residents of this state.

  17. - Downstater - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 2:42 pm:

    Senate President Emile - I NEED A RAISE - Jones could care less what we think. His and others abuse of power is a direct result of lack of term limits and voter apathy. These legislators should be judged fairly on their performance and compensated accordingly. This would be unlike merit comp state employees many of whom have gone several years without a raise.

  18. - steve schnorf - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 5:33 pm:

    Get over it! We elected these folks and entrusted them with making decisions, many of which are much more important than this one.

  19. - whatever one - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 5:46 pm:

    How dare they give themselves a raise. If I’m not mistaken, we, the people, vote for Senators. How dare Mr. E. Jones tell us that he needs the $. Do none of the Senators, that we voted for have any scrupples? Everyone is hurting!!! How dare you Mr. Jones not allowing the Senate to vote on this. I guess I’m naive but always thought that you people worked for the people not screwing them at every turn. HOW DARE ALL OF YOU!

  20. - Disgusted - Friday, May 30, 08 @ 10:09 pm:

    Mr. Schnorf: Spoken like a true Illinois politician!

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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