* Most Illinois news outlets don’t appear to have run the full Associated Press story on the pay raises handed out by Gov. Pat Quinn to his staff. Some led with Bill Brady’s response…
The Republican candidate for Illinois governor says the pay raises Gov. Pat Quinn gave his staff show the Democrat is incapable of solving the state’s budget problems.
Some led with Quinn’s own defense…
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is defending pay raises given to his staff even though the state is awash in debt.
* But drill down into the full AP story, and you’ll see that most of Quinn’s explanations don’t hold up. For instance…
Quinn also claimed he’d reduced staff by 10 positions in the governor’s office. […]
[But] payroll records show 124 employees in the governor’s office and budget office in May, compared to 125 in July 2009 and 122 in February 2009, just after Quinn took office.
Yesterday, Quinn said he’d cut his budget by 25 percent…
“…the overall budget of the governor’s office is 25 percent lower than it was when I was sworn in.”
Quinn’s proposed spending plan had a 10 percent increase in the budget office this year, documents show.
And what about total payroll? The AP found something quite different than what Quinn was claiming…
The overall payroll for the governor’s staff and his budget office was slightly lower in May than last July - $123,000 less, or just under 2 percent, according to state payroll records.
And, of course, there’s the traditional hiding of payroll in other agencies….
But other records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that dozens of employees reporting to the governor’s office are paid by other agencies under Quinn’s control.
So, we really don’t know yet whether this was an actual cut or an increase. Since the AP’s crack reporter John O’Conner is on the case, I’m assuming there will be at least one follow-up.
* Meanwhile, Fox Chicago reporter Mike Flannery is outraged over AFSCME’s union contract…
More than 40,000 unionized state workers got a pay raise last Thursday, bringing to 7 percent the amount they’re gotten since last year. These same state employees are in line for another 7 percent by next July 1st, all at a cost of a half-billion tax dollars a year.
It’s more than the virtually bankrupt state can afford, and some Republican lawmakers say the raises need to be rolled back.
“I’m outraged,” said State Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno. “It’s very difficult to buy this rhetoric that, ‘We need to borrow, we need increased revenue,’ when these kind of poor management decisions are going on.”
Governor Pat Quinn points out that the got the union members to defer 2 pecent of their scheduled raises temporarily until 2011, and the union also agreed to help the state find $70 million in health care savings.
*** UPDATE 1 *** Gov. Quinn was on Chicago Tonight last night to explain his raises and his budget. Watch…
*** UPDATE 2 *** AFSCME responds to the Fox Chicago report…
As informed watchers of state government, Capitol Fax blog readers know that last night’s Fox News report was incomplete, misleading and disingenuous. It lumped together nearly four years of pay increases for frontline state workers, but failed to provide that context.
The cost of those increases over four years is about 2 tenths of 1 percent of all state spending–that is, 2 pennies on every 100 dollars the state spends. And even that is an overstatement, since Fox also failed to note that state employees are paying more for health insurance over the same period, and that thousands are taking unpaid furlough days to help the state save money.
Finally, Fox neglected to mention that Illinois has the nation’s fewest state employees per capita. Manufactured controversies like this misinform the public and insult the men and women of state government who care for the disabled, aid the unemployed, prevent child abuse, analyze crime-scene evidence, keep our prisons safe, and perform all the other essential services Illinois residents rely on every day.
*** UPDATE 3 *** From Bill Brady…
“This morning, working families in Illinois woke up to learn that Governor Quinn is doling out massive pay raises as high as 24 thousand dollars to political cronies on his own staff, while the rest of us are tightening our belts, struggling just to get by.
I believe pay hikes for state government executives during a fiscal crisis is outrageous, but Governor Quinn? He defends his executive pay hikes, telling viewers on Chicago Tonight, “…that’s how it works.”
Well Governor, feathering the nests of your own political cronies while working families are just scraping by is NOT how government should work. If Pat Quinn is serious about controlling state spending, he should immediately enact a wage freeze on state government payroll, and reverse his pay hikes for his executive staff today.”
* Related and a roundup…
* Quinn responds to ABC7 report on state money
* Fair warning
* Quinn gives staff big raises
* Governor Gives Staff Salary Raises
* Judge: Ousted IDOT workers filed suit too late
* DuPage schools keeping eye on strike
* Landmark Law Requires All Rape Kits to be Tested
* New law requires police to have rape kits analyzed
* Quinn signs law on sex-crime evidence
* Don’t Buzz Me: Illinois cracks down on driving too close to cyclists
* Our View: New bike law makes sense
* Minimum wage hike good for workers
* Southern Illinoisan: In Illinois, we ‘go to the hat’ too often