* From the Illinois Policy Institute regarding yesterday’s House vote to roll back scheduled legislative pay raises, among other things…
“This bill is just another effort to meet the governor halfway,” Madigan said on the House floor.
But the move appears to be an empty play for political points in the wake of bad press and a frustrated public, as Madigan has been blocking Republican legislation to do the same for weeks.
House Bill 4225, filed in May by state Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, would have stopped lawmaker pay raises for the current fiscal year. The bill was deliberately stalled in the Madigan-controlled Rules Committee.
When state Rep. Ron Sandack, R-Downers Grove, requested multiple times that the bill be discharged from the committee so it may be heard, the Madigan-appointed chairperson ruled Sandack was out of order, dashing any hopes of a vote.
No doubt that this was a loss for Madigan. I have no idea why he thought it would OK to not block those pay raises. He said his approp bill didn’t fund them, but whatevs. Bad, bad move and it bit him hard.
* But, the above excerpt shows why the Illinois Policy Institute ain’t exactly a non-partisan outfit. I mean, even Gov. Rauner was gracious in victory yesterday…
A Rauner spokesman said the governor praised “those who showed leadership” with the vote and urged Senate President John Cullerton to act on the bill.
“We encourage President Cullerton to swiftly move this legislation to the governor’s desk for his signature,” spokesman Lance Trover said in an emailed statement.
“Governor Rauner is ready to work with Speaker Madigan, (House Republican Leader Jim) Durkin and all members of the General Assembly to pass true structural reforms and a balanced budget.”
* But, wait… There’s more.
From the above-referenced Republican Rep. Mark Batinick’s bill synopsis…
Amends the Compensation Review Act. Prohibits cost-of-living adjustments for or during the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2015 for State government legislative and executive elected officers and appointees in positions for which the Compensation Review Board previously recommended or determined compensation. Effective immediately.
The bill passed yesterday does the exact same thing, as the Institute correctly notes.
What the Institute doesn’t mention, however, is that the legislation also freezes mileage and per diem reimbursement rates, which Madigan said doubled the savings of the original GOP legislation.
So, it was actually a pretty good win by the Republicans. They got what they wanted and more.
* Back to the Illinois Policy Institute’s rant…
Illinoisans would be wise to keep in mind why Madigan’s bill is even necessary in the first place. It’s because of legislation pushed by Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton last year ensuring lawmaker salaries, operating expenses and pay increases would be allocated through a “continuing appropriation,” meaning they must be specifically prohibited for a given year for the payments to stop.
Nowhere do they mention that the GA passed that bill after Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed legislator salaries out of the budget, which a judge ruled unconstitutional.
They passed the legislation to protect the integrity of the General Assembly’s co-equal status in the face of a vindictive, publicity hound governor. That legislation was absolutely justified and was the right thing to do.